- ManukaLife Campaign Update: 1H 2020
- ManukaLife Campaign Update: 2H 2019
- Biolidics Campaign Update: 1H 2019
- Futuresafe Tech Campaign Update: 1H 2019
- ManukaLife Campaign Update: 1H 2019
- Biolidics Campaign Update: 2018
- Futuresafe Tech Campaign Update: 2018
- ManukaLife Campaign Update: 2018
ManukaLife Campaign Update - 1H 2020
INTRODUCTION / WILDFIRE SITUATION
Fund Singapore understands some investors may have questions or concerns about whether the Australian bush fires had in any way been affected ManukaLife as a company. Hence Fund Singapore requested from the CEO of ManukaLife, Mr. Paul Callandar, an ad-hoc update of the situation and progress on the ground.
“We are very lucky in Western Australia that we have not been affected by the fires on the East Coast,” Mr. Callandar said in response to Fund Singapore’s queries on how the ManukaLife plantations were impacted at all by the bush fires. In fact, the company has harvested a total of three tons of Manuka Honey in 2019 which in his words, was a very positive outcome and further shores up their production.
As most international media outlets have covered by now, there are bush fires of different severities raging in every state within Australia, with the State of New South Wales the worst hit. The State of Western Australia where ManukaLife is based, is fortunate to have the least damage despite contributing to about 12% of the total area affected by the fires in Australia as of 14 Jan 2020. This area does not include ManukaLife’s production areas.
PLANT BREEDING PROGRAMME
As a follow up to the review of its plant breeding program, the Australian Federal Government has agreed to extend the current three-year plant breeding plant breeding program for another three years.
Work has since commenced to clone the F1 hybrids to produce both Manuka Honey and Manuka Oil. ManukaLife believes that this will significantly improve ManukaLife’s productivity and ability to continue to supply the existing demand for Manuka Honey and to provide the market with new and innovative products.
SALES AND MARKETING
On the sales front, ManukaLife has entered a contract with Capilano Honey, the largest honey company in Australia for 2020. This will enable global distribution of their products for the entire year at a very competitive pricing. To date, the company has received orders from Australia, China, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. A significant distribution channel into the United States for a range of new dermacare and general wellness products is also in the concluding stages of finalization.
ManukaLife Campaign Update - 2H 2019
ManukaLife Pty Ltd has successfully hired Joe Baini, previously the CEO of Berringa Australia as its Commercial Director. Joe’s previous experience as an executive in bio tech and pharmaceutical companies in the US and Australia, makes him a great candidate for the role due to his good understanding of the manuka honey market.
ManukaLife will soon be holding a review of its plant breeding program with the Federal Government (AgriFutures) to confirm both the new manuka honey grants from the latter and the interest level in the new ManukaLife oil plant breeding program.
PLANTATIONS AND SEEDINGS
As a follow-up to the previous Fund Singapore–ManukaLife 1H Investor Update on the land lease in East Keralup, ManukaLife has moved further along in its discussions with the Western Australian State Government to lease the 400ha plot of land, with ManukaLife being part of the shortlisted final 4 from a total of 26 companies. This potential development would be especially useful for ManukaLife as that 400ha land is adjacent to the Peel business park that will have both the necessary utility and logistics infrastructure built up, which can be tapped into for ManukaLife’s cultivation and production facilities.
An investment memorandum is being prepared by ManukaLife to raise additional funds with engagement with potential new investors. Interested parties include one of Australia’s largest honey packer and producer as well as a US East Coast distribution organisation. This new investment round will see the valuation of ManukaLife significantly increase and as a result, Fund Singapore’s stake as well.
On the production front, ManukaLife grew 400,000 seedlings for planting into manuka honey and oil plantations using different varieties of leptospermum. This includes 100,000 seedlings planted for manuka oil in a 20,000 seedlings/ha configuration, and another 300,000 seedlings have been planted out for manuka honey plantations.
The company is also bolstering its product R&D by further investing in manuka honey as well as manuka oil research. Assessment of oil extraction from individual plant oil has already begun under the Kings Park Plant Breeding Program We are expecting the first bulk distillation of Manuka Oil to occur in the second half of 2020 in order to determine the viable commercial scale of Manuka Oil production.
SALES AND MARKETING
ManukaLife has successfully garnered distribution interest in its products as it seeks to ramp up production of its high MGO content products. This past quarter, the company has established shipments of samples to India, Thailand, Malaysia, UAE and the US with new engagements with distributors in those countries. New Commercial Director Joe Baini also visited the US to engage with two large US distributors on both coasts of the country, with the companies providing term sheets for distribution activities.
The company is planning to complete final batch trials for their new Manuka Premium Health Tonics. These Health Tonics, along with another of their new product, ManukaLife Premium Manuka Nougat, is anticipated to be ready for initial sample distribution in Q4 2019.
ManukaLife Campaign Update - 1H 2019
In end-January, members of ManukaLife's management team including CEO, Paul Callandar visited Fund Singapore's office to advance discussions on future expansion of its business and investor networks in Asia-Pacific. In line with its efforts to widen its distribution reach across Asia-Pacific, the company has also toured Hong Kong and Japan to participate in trade shows and conferences sponsored by the Western Australian Government.
PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT HIGHLIGHTS
ManukaLife has expanded its product line to include matcha green tea and chocolate varieties. Using cold honey extraction with miminal processing, the many beneficial properties of honey are preserved while giving consumers a wider selection and choice. ManukaBaby, a range of high quality certified organic skincare products suited for babies and toddlers has been successfully developed. This development is achieved in collaboration with the Farallon Group of the United States of America who are now in talks over pricing and distribution regions. Formulated without any harsh ingredients, the product range of ManukaBaby presently includes an all-natural body wash, skin lotion and bottom balm.
ManukaLife has also moved to establish additional benefits from Manuka Oil, a unique and highly valuable secondary product of their Manuka plantations. This by-product is highly valuable due to the presence of bioactive Beta Triketones. The company is planning for its next products - Manuka Health Shots and Manuka Oil.
Compared to honey, Manuka Oil is easier to produce and significantly less susceptible to agricultural shocks. There are a wide range of applications, yet present day supply of high grade Manuka Oil remain low.
Historically, supply of Manuka Oil was restricted to minute operations in New Zealand. Hence, ManukaLife's entrance to the production of Manuka Oil presents a promising opportunity for the company to diversify its revenue stream
ASIA-PACIFIC DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
ManukaLife has established global and domestic distribution channels for its two initial products with strategic partners- Japan's Iwatani Corp who is responsible for launching the products in the Japanese and Chinese markets, and Italy's Vividus Sri, who have placed their first order of 6000 and 2000 jars of Manuka honey respectively. On the domestic frontier, Australian consumers can now purchase the honey jars of varying MGO varieties off the shelf at two supermarket chains in Western Australia - Farmer Jacks and IGA.
Discussions with potential distributors based in Singapore, US, Germany and China are still in progress.
Consumers are now also able to purchase ManukaLife's range of pure, high-grade Australian Manuka Honey products direct from the company's webstore. They are available in various MGO levels, flavours and jar sizes (www.manukalife.net.au/shop).
In addition to the current 980ha of plantations, ManukaLife has begun seeding for 250ha out of 500ha Leptospermum planting target for 2019. The company is well on track to reach its goal of 3,000ha of land under plantings within the next decade.
Analyses of the company's Leptospermum populations have confirmed high levels of Manuka Oil with Beta Triketones. Beta Triketones are highly valued and in short supply for anti-microbial applications. This has further led the company to pursue development of high value medical, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products containing this oil. ManukaLife has been approached by and in discussions with doTERRA, a US firm to supply the high-grade Manuka Oil.
PLANT BREEDING PROGRAMME
ManukaLife has partnered with the Australian Federal Government (AgriFutures) and Kings Park Botanic Gardens to underpin the future genetics of the Manuka Industry in Australia. The programme aims to identify and cultivate superior Manuka selections, develop new high-producing DHA and MGO Leptospermum varietals and facilitate longer flowering periods of up to six months.
In September, ManukaLife signed its second agreement with Kings Park for development of next generation honey plant genetics. The programme aims to harvest excess plant biomass and beat triketone for oil extraction. ManukaLife will own 100% of the IP and plant breeding rights from this programme.
ManukaLife Campaign Update - 2018
Since their last successful fundraising round, ManukaLife Pty Ltd has made considerable progress both on the commercial and research front. Building on their shared farming agreements executed previously, they have planted an additional 900,000 new seedlings this year - which is on around 500 ha of land. The company estimates that by the end of this year, they will have approximately 980ha under plantation.
In the last quarter of 2018, ManukaLife Pty Ltd executed a corporate rebranding exercise to better encapsulate their growth and achievements since its incorporation. The new website - www.manukalife.net.au/ - is live and features recent information on their developments, product line, research publications and media showcases.
HIGHLIGHTS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
In late 2017, ManukaLife spearheaded the formation of the Australian Manuka Honey Association (AMHA), which is currently the leading national body representing the Australian Manuka Honey industry. Formed by the leaders of the largest and most influential honey companies in Australia and supported by hundreds of beekeepers, the AMHA represents 180 years of Australian beekeeping practice and honey production. The AMHA is supported by and have received grants by the Australian Federal Government. The members of AMHA includes ASX-listed Capilano, the Bee Industry Council of Western Australia, the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association and the Queensland Beekeepers Association. The CEO of ManukaLife Pty Ltd, Paul Callander, is the inaugural Chairman of the AMHA.https://www.manukaaustralia.org.au
In partnership with leading scientists and independent approved laboratories, AMHA establishes the authentication standards for Australian Manuka honey such that all honey that bears the AMHA logo are certified to be 100% pure, natural, authentic Australian Manuka honey.
Manuka honey's medicinal properties are derived from Methylglyoxal (MGO), a compound that occurs naturally in authentic Manuka honey that is responsible for much of its non-peroxide activity (NPA). NPA is the equivalent of the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF®), a New Zealand registered trademark, when tested by an appropriate laboratory.
MGO is the centrepiece of AMHA's Australian Manuka honey rating system and this is in line with changing international standards and labelling requirements.
Australia has more varieties of Manuka plants than anywhere else in the world: over 80 species of the Leptospermum plant variety. It is also free of the Varroa mite, meaning no miticides are used in honey production. Therefore, Australian bees are less stressed by disease and Australian Manuka honey is pure and natural.
ManukaLife is looking to expand production to a variety of Manuka honey-based products. They are currently developing ManukaBaby, a range of high quality certified organic skincare products for babies. This development is done in collaboration with the Farallon Group of the United States of America. Samples of the baby products have been sent to Farallon Group and both companies are in talks over market analysis, packaging and pricing.
ManukaLife is also engaged in encouraging discussions with potential Manuka honey products distributors in Japan, Italy and Malaysia. Iwatani Corp Japan is keen on collaborating with ManukaLife to distribute Manuka honey and jointly develop Manuka products with their Agri Food Division. Italian company Vividus is interested in potential product development of Manuka vitamin shots for distribution in Italy and Rome. Finally, GBA Malaysia is looking into potential investment into land for development of Manuka plantations, and joint product manufacturing and distribution.
PLANTINGS & PLANT BREEDING PROGRAMME
ManukaLife has established large scale nursery operations for the propagation and production of Leptospermum seedlings. In addition to the current 980 ha of plantations, ManukaLife is planning to plant 500 more ha of Leptospermum next year and to reach 3,000ha of land under plantings within the next decade.
With support from the Australian Federal Government, ManukaLife is progressing well on the Leptospermum plant breeding programme at Kings Park and Botanic Gardens, to hybridise the plant so it can be grown in hot and cold climates and its flowering period is extended from six weeks to six months. The new varietals will enable higher productivity of honey while lowering operating costs.
ISSUES & CHALLENGES
ManukaLife is actively sourcing for ways to overcome the issue of land shortages for planting. They have recently signed an agreement with Water Corporation, a government department in Western Australia, to conduct share farming on their land holdings of approximately 220ha, with are in discussion for a further 200ha next year.
The strategic partnership that ManukaLife are entering into with Iwatani Corp will also allow them to grow on more than 200ha of land next year.
ManukaLife is moving to establish additional benefits from its investments in Manuka plantations for honey into the Manuka oil industry. Manuka oil is a highly valuable secondary market, selling for approximately ten times the value of normal tea tree oil, as essential oils distilled from Leptospermum have antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.
ManukaLife is in discussions with the Western Australian government to fund the genetics for development of the plant breeding programme for Manuka oil and have recently signed the plant breeding agreement with Kings Park. The programme aims to harvest excess plant biomass for oil extraction and to investigate the viability of plantations purely for essential oil production. Significant leverage can be gained from the current Manuka honey plant breeding programme underway at Kings Park and Botanic Gardens.
ManukaLife's goal is to create a Manuka Provence in Western Australia by developing a global centre of excellence for the development of premium quality Manuka honey and oil for the medical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and nutraceutical industries.