Well on our way towards
a circular company

Peer Swinkels, Chief Executive Officer

Passing on our company to the next generation even better, healthier and more sustainable, that is and will remain our mission. And in this – despite the challenging circumstances in 2023 – we have achieved great results and taken important steps.

As CEO Peer Swinkels phrased it: “COVID-19, geopolitics, war, inflation, energy crisis and climate effects are creating tremendous turbulence in the world and the market. This decade simply cannot be compared to the previous decade from a business-wise point of view. There is no longer any predictability. This requires enormous adaptability from companies, and in 2023 we showed, again, to have that in abundance. A great compliment to our staff is in order here. Together we are a strong company and reap the benefits of – what we call – our winning family culture.

Our ambition is to be a healthy, circular and customer-driven company. The needs of consumers and customers in local markets are key. Our company has what it takes to supply a wide variety of quality beers, soft drinks, malt and malt extracts using efficient and circular processes. We are well on our way in this regard. You can read more about it in this annual report.

We are proud of what we, as Royal Swinkels Family Brewers, have achieved in 2023, and we will continue to build confidently on the future. As of 2024, we will be doing that under a new name: Royal Swinkels. Shorter and more powerful. A better fit to the breadth of our activities. And with the pride, moxie and entrepreneurship of our wonderful family business. There is, after all, a reason why this annual report is titled: ‘We are Royal Swinkels’.”

In this annual report we still, of course, refer to Royal Swinkels Family Brewers, the name under which we conducted our activities throughout 2023.

A healthy and
sustainable business

Royal Swinkels Family Brewers developed a strategy for the coming years with the ambition of growing into a circular company. To this end, the company develops a large number of initiatives that are accurately measured and monitored using the Swinkels Circularity Index. The results appear further on in this annual report.

For us, circular entrepreneurship also means providing consumers the best offer at all times and doing so in the most effective and efficient way possible. Consumer demand in developed markets is characterized by a great need for variety and experience. We respond to this with an extensive portfolio of lager, specialty, craft and non-alcoholic beers. In 2023, we continued to build a network of breweries through which it controls all four beer fermentation processes. This puts the company in a unique position with grip on the chain via its own (specialized) malting plants.

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The divisions

Photo from L to R: Robbie Pastoor (Chief People & Culture Officer), Jos Jennissen (Chief Executive Officer Holland Malt), Pieter Swinkels (Chief Supply Chain Officer SFB), Mark van de Vijver (Chief Transformation Officer), Stijn Swinkels (Chief Growth Officer), Peer Swinkels (Chief Executive Officer), Arnoud van Schaik (Chief Executive Officer Cuba), Omo Ohiwerei (Chief Executive Officer Habesha) and Gijs Swinkels (Chief Commercial Officer SFB).

  • Swinkels Family Brewers

    A great result

  • In the beer division, we faced challenging market conditions in 2023. Thus, inflation, reduced purchasing power and consumer confidence, put pressure on volumes throughout the beer market. Weather conditions with heavy rain in the spring and fall also caused a negative impact. Through a combination of effective pricing policies, cost control and portfolio management, we were able to limit the effects.

    We brought focus to our assortment and market approach. In Japan, for example, we launched a successful new distribution model for our non-alcoholic beers. In this way we increasingly produce locally, which has a positive impact on efficiency and sustainability. In South Africa, for example, and in collaboration with a local brewery, we realized the production of a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers close to the market. We also broadened distribution in our focus countries by including channels in which we were not previously active.

    With these and more initiatives, we managed to increase our market share in several countries in 2023. This ensured an increase in turnover compared to 2022 and a positive profit contribution to the company. A great result in a difficult market.

  • Holland Malt

    Big step in circularity

  • Holland Malt also shows a positive contribution in 2023. The division’s turnover increased, as did the return. Despite a major rebuild at the Eemshaven malting plant, we achieved high efficiency in production with the malting plant in Lieshout focusing primarily on the production of a variety of malts for specialty and craft beers, among others, and the malting plant in Eemshaven focusing in particular on higher volume production. As the malting process is energy-intensive, Holland Malt committed to an energy transition at the end of 2021. A transition plan has been prepared for both malting plants.

    The conversion of the Eemshaven malting plant into the “world’s first emission-free malting plant” began in 2023. The conversion process, with hyper-efficient heat pumps providing the heat supply, was intensive and drastic. For example, in 2023, production was stopped twice to complete a phase of the project. The conversion process for the world’s first emission-free malting plant will be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2024. This offers great advantages in terms of energy efficiency given the increased cost of energy, and is above all a sustainable step that fits the ambition to develop the company into a fully circular company. Our customers have joined this project, resulting in this investment also contributing to making the chain more sustainable. The Holland Malt team shows that we are ready for the future.

  • Habesha

    Growth despite challenges

  • After a period of civil war, the situation in Ethiopia is more stable in 2023, although parts of the country remain restless, particularly in the region of our brewery. An annoying consequence of this situation is that it leads to hyperinflation. This causes decreased purchasing power among the population and erratic prices for (raw) materials. Despite these circumstances, however, the brewery proved able to record growth. The Habesha brand has shown a solid growth in turnover for many years, partly due to the development of Habesha on tap. Our non-alcoholic malt beverage Negus is also doing very well. The diversification strategy to four brands also contributed to the increase in sales. Thanks to an excellent commercial apparatus, a differentiated pricing policy and the passion for our various brands, the Habesha team manages to perform well.

  • Cuba

    The move to local production

  • Cuba has been an important export market for Royal Swinkels Family Brewers for decades. That remained unchanged in 2023. In line with the strategy, the ambition arose to create a local production facility as well. After a period of exploration and planning, the new brewery was realized in 2023 in the town of Mariel, Cuba, on schedule and within budget. The brewery became operational in the second half of 2023, but is still in the start-up phase. To strengthen the start-up, its own local brand was developed and launched under the name Parranda (which stands for a well-known celebration in Cuba).

  • Swinkels Real Estate

    Joining forces

  • In 2023, Royal Swinkels Family Brewers added the Swinkels Real Estate business unit. Activities in real estate already existed and, after acquiring a large portfolio of on-trade properties in Belgium, have now been brought together in a separate division. This provides benefits for effectively managing the real estate portfolio of on-trade locations in the Netherlands and Belgium and elsewhere. Swinkels Real Estate aims to further develop the portfolio in terms of visibility, profitability and sustainability.

Looking to
the future

Peer Swinkels: “We are continuing on the chosen path and working meticulously to execute our multi-year strategy. This is how we work toward fulfilling our ambitions, step by step. In this, technology has an important role to play. We are digitizing and steering on data to optimize productivity and create market opportunities. Only the commitment and dedication of our people can make this a success. As we have a strong team and close-knit company culture, I look forward to the future with confidence.”

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