Report SB

The year 2023 was again challenging. Inflation, declining purchasing power and declining consumer confidence, war in trading areas, ongoing unrest and hyperinflation in Ethiopia, erratic raw material prices. Each of these are elements that touch the business of Royal Swinkels Family Brewers. Despite that, the company proved able to post solid results. The clear multi-year strategy that the company meticulously executes is paying off. Accordingly, the SB expresses great satisfaction with the performance and results of the past financial year.

Photo from L to R: Eric Lauwers, Caroline van Nieuwkerk, Jurgen van Breukelen, Maarten Abbenhuis and Annemiek van Melick.

Financial results

In terms of both turnover and profit (EBITDA), Royal Swinkels Family Brewers is doing well given the difficult market situation. In the process, through good cost control and working capital management, the company managed to increase the scope for investment, development and innovation in 2023. The SB is very pleased with this result of good entrepreneurship and a longer-term vision.


During the SB’s visit to brewery Habesha, the country’s challenges were once again evident. After a period of civil war, the situation in the north of the country is again unsettled. In addition, Ethiopia suffers from hyperinflation. This affects cash management and various other aspects of operations. The SB noted that, despite the challenging situation, the team was able to achieve strong results through, among other things, a well-functioning organization.

Royal Swinkels Family Brewers becomes Royal Swinkels

By the end of 2023, Royal Swinkels Family Brewers recalibrated its corporate brand strategy. The SB is positive about the choice and sees in the short and powerful name of “Royal Swinkels” a profile that better suits the versatility of the family business in which the rich history, craftsmanship and entrepreneurship are clearly expressed. Also, the new name better covers the broad portfolio of activities.

The company, traditionally,
has had a strong family culture

The Intelligent Brewery

The implementation of the Intelligent Brewery program was a major topic on the SB’s agenda in 2023. Because of the “conversion during occupancy” implementation, there were quite a few operational challenges to overcome. The SB is positive about the benefits of this major digital transformation that provides far-reaching real-time insight into global operations. Among other things, this makes it possible to focus even more on efficiency, costs and market opportunities.

Winning family culture

As Royal Swinkels Family Brewers grows in internationality and versatility, the need for a strong corporate culture increases. The SB sees that the company, traditionally, has had a strong family culture and is able to effectively translate the values that stem from it into (international) business units. Among other things, with a leadership program to be further strengthened in the future. The SB also concludes that it is important to widely promote the “winning family culture” among stakeholders such as depositary receipt holders and family members who are not active in the company. This is what the company paid attention to at various times in 2023. The SB thanks all employees for their efforts.

Circularity through and through

The SB believes that Royal Swinkels Family Brewers is leading the industry in terms of circularity and also the associated reporting. This makes for a favorable starting position for the new European regulations that will come into force in the next few years. The company is preparing for the advent of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) where the company will adapt sustainability reporting to increase transparency and comparability. This calls for reporting more data points.

The current market challenges
will not be over in 2024

Change of guard

As of January 1, 2024, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Geert van Iwaarden stepped down. The SB thanks Geert for his commitment and the keen insight he was able to bring to all financial facets of the business. Together with the nominating committee, and in close consultation with the Executive Board (EB), the SB has recruited a suitable new CFO in the person of Mark Rutten who has taken office on March 1, 2024. This maintains the effective two-tier board structure (EB) at Royal Swinkels Family Brewers.

Looking to the future

The SB notes that the current market challenges will not be over in 2024. At the same time, it has confidence in the future. Working from a multi-year growth strategy and focusing on brand and business unit returns helps Royal Swinkels Family Brewers maintain and expand its current position.

Interactions and meetings

The SB convened nine times in 2023, including four online and five physical meetings. The meetings took place at various company locations, including at brewery Habesha in Ethiopia and brewery Palm in Belgium. The Audit Committee convened three times and the Renumeration Committee twice. Furthermore, SB members visited board meetings of shareholder Ambrig, depositary receipt holder meetings and the General Meeting of Shareholders, is chaired by SB Chairman Jurgen van Breukelen: “Putting out feelers regularly is good and for me personally, new to the position, very enjoyable to do.”

On behalf of the SB also a special thank you to Jan Willem Baud, former Chairman of the SB for two statutory terms, for his commitment and all he was able to do for Royal Swinkels Family Brewers.

Lieshout, 2 April 2024

J.J.H. van Breukelen, chairman
M.C. Abbenhuis
E.C.R. Lauwers
A.T.J. van Melick
C.W.N. van Nieuwkerk

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