Vitamin maker Jamieson Wellness goes public

TORONTO — Jamieson Wellness is banking on an aging population and rising disposable incomes to help accelerate a five-year expansion plan, the head of the company says as its stock soared on its debut Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

For nearly a century, the Toronto-based maker of vitamins, minerals and other supplements has capitalized on consumer appetite to live healthy — and it is counting on that to grow.

“There is a global health and wellness mega-trend that is going on that affects everyone, no matter which country you’re in,” president and CEO Mark Hornick said in an interview before the company went public.

“People want to live longer and they want a higher quality of life. They want to prevent health concerns before they become problematic.”

Jamieson (TSX:JWEL) sold $300 million worth of its shares though its initial public offering and a secondary offering priced at $15.75 per share.

At the close on Friday, its shares were at $17.30, up 9.84 per cent. Earlier in day, the stock had been trading as high as $17.95.

The company plans to use the money raised from its share of the offering to repay debt and its preferred shareholders.

According to market research firm Euromonitor, the Canadian vitamin and multivitamin industry was worth $431.7 million last year.

Jamieson says it controls about 25 per cent of the vitamin market in Canada. It also sells other products including natural sleep aids, herbal extracts and natural beauty and skin care products.

It has a revenue target of $390 million for this year, with expectations of $410 million in 2021, according to regulatory filings.

Jamieson says in addition to increasing its sales in Canada, where it has more than 500 products in 10,000 stores, it is focused on growing its presence internationally, particularly in markets such as Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

The company already exports to more than 40 countries, with some of its oldest markets being Trinidad, Jordan and Hong Kong.

Hornick says the brand has “premium” cachet in the international market because its production meets stringent Health Canada regulations.

Jamieson makes about 90 per cent of its products at three facilities in Windsor, Ont., and Toronto, and has no expectations of moving its factories overseas. It currently employs about 800 people.

Earlier this year, Jamieson acquired sports nutrition company Body Plus, and is planning on launching a line of vitamin-enhanced protein powder next year. It also is slated to bring a new cough and cold prevention pill on the market in the fall.

U.S. private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors acquired Jamieson in 2014 for $300 million.

Hornick says CCMP is expected to hold about a 44 per cent stake in the company after the IPO on a diluted basis while management will hold about eight per cent.

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