Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Stolen Rum rustles up $4m in new backing

Jamie Duff (left) and Roger Holmes, co-founders of Auckland's Stolen Rum. The company has just raised another $4m and are about to launch in the US. Photo / Natalie Slade.
Jamie Duff (left) and Roger Holmes, co-founders of Auckland's Stolen Rum. The company has just raised another $4m and are about to launch in the US. Photo / Natalie Slade.

Auckland spirits brand Stolen Rum says a $4 million capital raising it completed this week will allow the company to dramatically increase its presence in international markets.

The cash was raised from private investors in New Zealand, Britain, Australia, Canada and China.

Stolen chairman Rob Campbell, who was appointed to the role this year, said the latest funding round valued the company - which was founded in 2010 and imports its rum from Trinidad - at $18 million.

"Included in our pitch to potential investors were some exciting and well-developed plans for international growth off a strong base and a cash positive position in the New Zealand market," Campbell said.

Chief executive Jamie Duff said it was too early to reveal the details of Stolen's international expansion plans, but "significant announcements" would be made in the coming weeks and months.

In January the company said it was selling 10,000 cases of product annually across New Zealand and Australia and was gearing up to launch into the United States.

The company planned to take on Britain and Asian markets after gaining a foothold in the US, Stolen said at that time.

Duff said further investments rounds would be required to back Stolen's growth into additional markets and private funding was an attractive option given its low cost.

"The funding we require is effectively initial working capital in each new market so it is inherently incremental as the business grows," he said. "Growth is our agenda so as we continue to deliver on our growth milestones we will go back to the market and seek new investment."

Stolen said its sales in 2012 rose 178 per cent on the previous year.

In addition to Campbell, Stolen has also appointed Christina Domecq - a descendent of the Spanish sherry-making dynasty House of Domecq - to its board.

Domecq has a controversial history in Europe as the founder of Spinvox, a UK-based firm that marketed itself as having revolutionary technology that converted voicemail messages into text messages.

But in 2009 an investigation by the BBC reported many of the messages were being transcribed by call centre workers in South Africa and the Philippines, which raised privacy issues.

Domecq is the chief executive of Localist, the New Zealand Post-owned online directory service.

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