A serious dispute has reportedly erupted between the shareholders of the Irish protein and vitamin bar company Fulfil Nutrition over a potential global expansion.
The fast-growing company is backed by Barry Connolly, who owns 50% of the €25 million-a-year business and whose Richmond Marketing is the Irish distributor for Red Bull.
Fulfil’s co-founders, Niall McGrath and Tom Gannon, who each own 25% of the business, have fallen out with Connolly over exponential growth plans, according to The Irish Times.
All shareholders currently own their respective shares via Isle of Man entities.
The co-founders confirmed they are taking legal advice in relation to the row.
The dispute arose over a proposed plan to turn Fulfil into a major global brand. McGrath and Gannon initially agreed to the plan which would see the company grow fourfold in size.
However, the disagreement arose over a proposal to replace the original plan with an even bolder plan containing an exponentially larger scheme to take Fulfil into new continents and markets segments.
It is understood that the two co-founders oppose this latter plan and have been sacked from their executive roles, although they remain shareholders and directors of Bartoni, the Dublin-based company behind Fulfil.
“The founders, builders and key drivers of highly successful protein bar Fulfil, Niall McGrath and Tom Gannon, have been compelled to take legal advice and will take whatever steps are required to protect and vindicate their position,” a statement on behalf of the co-founders said.
Irish Success Story
Fulfil Nutrition has been a major Irish success story in the last two years. It was launched in January 2016 and made sales of about €12 million in its first trading year, doubling the amount in the year after that.
Gannon and McGrath had worked with Connolly at Richmond Marketing for years before conceiving of the Fulfil brand in 2014. Connolly joined the company as a financial backer.
Richmond Marketing took over the distribution of Fulfil for Ireland, while Connolly began distributing the brand to the UK.
The board of business was expanded in 2016, with the addition of Richmond’s finance chief, Ivan Walpole. Former managing director of Cadbury Ireland, Brian O’Sullivan, was retained to advise the business on the growth plans and went on to become chief executive.
In late 2017, the dispute developed over the expansion scheme backed by Connolly and Sullivan, to super-size the plan.
Connolly and the two co-founders held talks over buying out some or all of their shares, but an agreement wasn’t reached.
Bartoni said that it “believes that the success of Fulfil in Ireland can be replicated in other markets”.
However, it declined to comment on any further employee information.
© 2018 - Checkout Magazine by Kevin Duggan