16 February 2018 – An energy drinks company hopes to take global brands such as Red Bull and Monster on at their own game with the support of a multi-million pound backer.
Leicester’s Wild Cat Energy Drinks is building a strong presence around the world with its range of four flavours.
It now wants to take an even bigger share of a global market which is expected to reach £60 billion within seven years – despite recent concerns over young people downing too many high-caffeine, high-sugar drinks.
The main player in the market, Austria’s Red Bull, had a global turnover of £4.54 billion in 2016.
Hasnein Dhirani and Kassim Rajani, who launched Hamilton-based Wild Cat in 2010, are now in talks with Ontario-based investment firm Serruya Private Equity, in a move that could vastly increase the number of stockists.Wild Cat currently has 14 staff in Leicester with six worldwide representatives and 12 employees in Poland, where the drinks are made.
It is already distributed into countries as far afield as the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Canada and even Afghanistan.
A year ago it joined forces with a Brazilian company called Brado which launched the company’s first franchise in Sao Paolo.
Globally the Leicester team sold 6 million cans back in 2014, which has grown to about 16 million a year.
They hope to hit 20 million in the next few years, having branched out from the original flavour to sugar free, zero calorie and cola flavour.
Serruya’s background has seen it invest in frozen yoghurt brands Pinkberry, Yogen Früz and Yogurty’s as well as coffee shops, property and hotels.
It sold Arizona-based Kahala Brands, a restaurant franchise business, in a deal valued at around £230 million in 2016.
Kassim said: “We’re in the advance stages with them.
“Their competitors are Nestle and we’re hoping that through them some major investment will be coming in.
“They have a marketing team and logistics in 83 countries, meaning with a click of a finger we could be in stores all over the world.
“We’ve got confidential agreements in place and we’re hoping that this could be the major breakthrough for our brand.”
Hasnein said: “Since inception we have increased our sales in over 20 countries and have received recognition through marketing.
“We are trying to create a lifestyle brand – where people can walk into a store in any country and ask for Wild Cat energy drink.
“We want to become a major global brand based in Leicester like Walkers Crisps and Next.”
In addition to their deal with Serruya, Kassim and Hasein are in the negotiations with a big distributor in Hong Kong and China who could help double their profits.
Kassim said: “We’re looking at partnering with them and it would open up the whole of not only China, to us but also Thailand, Singapore, Japan and all of the far east market.
“From 2010 to 2014 we used to supply to anyone – anyone who came on board, we would produce for them and supply to them.
“But in 2014 we started analysing the markets and trying to tie up with the right distributors for our brand.
“China has got so many energy drinks already and they’re all into them over there.
“To crack that market is really difficult but we’ve found the right people and are excited for the future.”