Arkansas-based coffee co to invest $90 million in new plant, posts loss of $13M

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – Westrock Coffee based out of Little Rock posted a net loss of $13.018 million but saw a 27% increase in third-quarter sales. The company is investing another $90 million to expand its extract and ready-to-drink plant in Conway.

According to Talk Business and Politics, third-quarter revenue was $230.308 million, up 27% compared with the $181.277 million in the same quarter of 2021. Revenue in the first nine months of 2022 was $640.149 million, up 26.1% compared with the same period in 2021. The company posted a net loss of $23.542 million in the first nine months, above the $16.082 million loss in the same period of 2021.

“Our third quarter results again highlight the product mix shift we are seeing across our business. The year-over-year growth in our single-serve cup volumes drove Adjusted EBITDA growth of 33% in the third quarter. We held higher expectations for our core coffee and tea business but that was obviously impacted by the negative effects of inflation as both our customer volume demand and our manufacturing costs reflected the rapid acceleration of price increases in fuel, food, materials, and labor,” Scott Ford, CEO and co-founder, noted in the report. “Fortunately, we were able to partially mitigate these impacts through operational efficiencies, and we expect to recapture many of these cost increases over the next several quarters as our cost pass-through contracts typically reset six months in arrears.”

Westrock Coffee said growth plans include Conway’s extract and RTD plant. The new plant will create around 300 jobs when fully functional and is expected to be up and running in the first half of 2024.

“The Company will now be adding a state-of-the-art extraction technology system, a multi-serve bottling line, and Bag-in-a-Box packaging lines to its Phase I projects that previously included a standard extraction system and high-speed glass bottle and canning lines. … Renovation of the facility has begun in earnest with the Company making initial deposits on equipment and the commencement of work by the general contractor in the 524,000 square foot facility,” the company noted.

Talk Business & Politics talked with Ford, the former CEO of Little Rock-based Alltel, who shared some of the company’s goals.

“We want to build one of the preeminent coffee, tea, flavor, extract ingredient companies in the world over the next five to 10 years. And we want to do that on the behalf of the farmer network that we buy coffee, tea and ingredients from, because when we do that on a non-premium, non-charity basis, we force everybody else in the industry to start paying a fair wage and be held accountable for what they buy at the beginning of the origin,” Ford said. “If we do a good job of that we’ll also make a ton of money for our shareholders and be a good steward both for the investment people trusted us with and the crop that farmers trusted us with.”

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