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Natural Drinks Company

The Natural Drinks Company was founded by its CEO – Ian Minton, a type one diabetic. Frustrated at the extremely limited choice of zero sugar products available on the market Ian set about to make his own. In 2016  the concept brand Frutree was launched and its initial success is phenomenal. The Company is planning for new products to meet other target groups in UK, as well as on the European market.

  • Introduction

    To pioneer the best ways of refreshing the world’s thirst for a better life

    The Natural Drinks Company felt it was time for something delicious, all natural and made with ingredients as pure as the water they infuse. They are groundbreaking in the market and their aim is to populate shelves with this totally sugar and calorie free drink. They believe in changing the consumer confusion surrounding labels that state ‘no added sugar’ but are packed full of artificial sweeteners.

    TNDC founder Ian Minton is a type one diabetic and was frustrated at the extremely limited choice of truly low sugar or zero sugar products available on the market. The soft drinks industry has been incapable of developing a zero sugar drink without resorting to the heavy use of artificial sweeteners and Ian decided therefore to develop a product himself free of sugar and free of artificial additives. He worked with some of the UK’s leading food product development and blending companies for three years, funded entirely from his own resources, to achieve his aim of a producing great tasting zero sugar and zero calorie fruit drink.

    Having developed the product Ian then formed Frutree Limited in December 2014 to bring the Frutree product to market.  Trading under the name of The Natural Drinks Company Frutree has now designed, developed and is in production with its first product – Frutree for Kids. The Company has launched four drink flavours – Apple (Core Blimey), Orange and Mango (Peel Great), Summer Berry (Berry Nice) and Tropical (Tropicool). The drinks are currently being sold at supermarkets nationally.

    Just launching into the market is the adult version of the drink - Agua Tierra, a flavoured water that is sweetened with the purest stevia the plant, a naturally sourced sweetener from South America, suitable for all diets, tastes and lifestyles.

    TNDC has also designed a range of zero sugar mixer drinks which will be launched towards the end of 2016

    The drinks are produced at Norbev, a bottling company based in Northern Ireland. Starting in 1919 Norbev have a strong heritage and close working relationships with the worlds leading soft drink brands. Using the spring water from the hills of Ballymena. 

    The Natural Drinks Company feel it’s time for action, for evolution, for re-imaging what a drinks company should be and for others to find the bottle to follow our lead.

    Value Tracker
  • Management

    Board member

    Ian Minton | Founder and CEO

    Ian’s background is in property development and retail food sales, having been a franchisee of Domino’s. Ian a Type 1 diabetic has been working to develop a range of drinks that are not only health but appealing to consumers, using his previous experience. Ian has guided the business from inception to a multimillion selling product.

    Paul D Finnegan | Managing Director

    Paul has always been entrepreneurial, setting up his first business aged 20. After several years running this property business, he spotted a gap in the market for good quality bathroom equipment imported from Eastern Europe, India and eventually China. After building the business over four years, he sold the business to a larger importer who was supplying B&Q. Since then Paul has been working as a consultant within digital marketing technology sector.

    Paul Corcoran | Marketing Director

    Paul Corcoran is the marketing director of Natural Drinks Company, responsible for overseeing the group’s marketing strategy and that of its various sub-brands.

     As well as being responsible for Natural Drinks Company’s marketing direction, Paul is managing director of Agent Marketing, a full service, integrated marketing agency which entered its tenth year of operation in 2016. Agent provides a full range of marketing services (strategy-creative-digital-communications) to a variety of public, private and third sector clients across the UK.

     In 2016, the firm was featured by BBC1’s ‘The One Show’ for its trial of, and subsequent evolution of, Sweden’s 6 hour working say practices, As such, Agent enjoyed international media attention and acclaim across titles such as The Independent, The Observer, Fast Company, The Economist, BBC Radio 4 and The Metro, amongst others.

     The company’s values-led approach to business sustainability has also been illuminated recently with managing director, Paul Corcoran having won The Guardian’s ‘Sustainable Business Leader of the Year, 2016’ award at a ceremony in London. 

     Following this, the company received further acclaim for its values and leadership when it won ‘CSR Company of the Year’ and Paul winning ‘Young Business Leader of the Year’ at the Regional Business Awards sponsored by KPMG and Lloyds Banking Group.   

     In 2014, Agent launched its sister social enterprise, Agent Academy CIC, a not-for-profit company designed to support the next generation of young people into the creative and digital industries. Connecting talented young people to senior business and sector leaders, as well as training them via an intensive industry standard curriculum has resulted in impressive results. To date nearly 90% of Academy graduates have secured meaningful, permanent employment within the growing creative and digital industries. Many of these jobs did not exist before Agent Academy. The Academy has been recognised nationally, having been runner up for the ‘Jaguar Land Rover Inspiring Young People’ Business in the Community awards in 2015.

     As well as being managing director of Agent Marketing, a director of Agent Academy CIC, Paul is Chair of School for Social Entrepreneurs North West, a governor for LIPA (Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts) Primary School, a trustee of Rare Trust, a performing arts charity for young people and a trustee of The Big Trust, a new charity dedicated to increasing the life chances of those furthest away from education and meaningful employment.

    Board of Directors

    Paul J Finnegan | Non-executive Chairman

    Paul was appointed a Director of the Company at its formation in April 2015 and became Chairman in September following a significant investment by him and his family. The Finnegan family today own 30% of the share capital. Previously he was founder and CEO and founder of Rage Software PLC between 1999 till 2003, at its peak it had a market value of over £100m and the business was eventually sold to three different American publishers.  He then advised, and invested in, another software development company in the Midlands which was eventually sold to the publishing company Activision. Paul is currently a 50% partner in glass manufacturing business, and has a number of other interests and investments in various private companies.

    Mike Carr | Non-executive Director

    Mike has 30 years of experience running and owning one of the UK’s top ten industrial services companies. He has worked at all levels of the business and is currently the Managing Director after having completed his second company sale to a French multi national. Mike is responsible for building the company to a £32 million turnover and has consistently delivered positive EBITDA results.

    John Schorah | Non-executive Director

    John is currently managing partner of Weightmans LLP at top 45 UK National law from with revenues of £100m. he has overseen the firms acquisition strategy. He was previously the Director of the Commercial business line after joining the business in 2003. During his time on the board revenues have trebled. Prior to joining Weightmans, he was deputy managing director and then Chief Executive of a UK Plc.

    Russell Cook | Non-executive Director

    Russell has a career spanning more than 30 years in the City advising a range of quoted companies on all aspects of corporate finance and market obligations.  He has worked in the Corporate Finance Department of various brokers including Morgan Grenfell, CIBC and Teather & Greenwood.  He was Deputy Head of Corporate Finance at Charles Stanley for 13 years and was a Director at Panmure Gordon and is now Partner of Smith & Williamson LLP.  He worked  on numerous UK public takeovers, IPOs private placings and secondary fundraising.

  • Market

    Competitor Analysis

    The £1.9bn UK soft drinks market is dominated by the two major drinks companies, but also remains a somewhat fragmented market with a diverse range of smaller manufacturers also competing for market share. The two leading manufacturers are Coca Cola Enterprises and Britvic Soft Drinks who have in excess of 75% of the value share of the market.  A high percentage of the Big Two’s business is in carbonated soft drinks, which is the sector of the market most at jeopardy from the change in attitude to sugar and the proposed Sugar Tax. This is likely to impact significantly on their overall performance, future growth and ultimately their profitability. Both Coca Cola and Britvic have made efforts to tap into the healthy product opportunity but with so much volume and value in their traditional brands it is difficult for them to justify the time and investment to develop and market the new variants.

    With regard to the market for children’s fruit drinks the two leading brands are:

    Fruit Shoot (Britvic)

    The biggest brand in the children's drink market is Fruit Shoot, made by Robinsons. Fruit Shoot was launched in the year 2000 and now sells in excess of 500million bottles per year. Their most popular selling drink; apple and blackcurrant no added sugar actually contains 1.6 grams of sugar per 200 ml serving and Acesulfame K and Sucralose artificial sweeteners.

    Fruit shoot was seen as a better alternative to some of the heavily sugared carbonated drinks like Coca Cola, however as consumer awareness has grown about the side effects of artificial sweeteners there has been a huge backlash especially from mums/gatekeepers. 

    They also have a 'my 5' range, these contain between 16.5 g and 17.5 grams of sugar per 200ml serving and a 'Hydro' range which is zero sugar but contains both Acesulfame K and Sucralose.

    The most recent figures available show that in 2012 sales of Fruit Shoot were £96m. 

    Capri Sun (Coca Cola)

    Capri Sun is another popular children's drink that is situated near Frutree on the retailer’s shelves. Capri sun have several flavours containing between 17g and 24g per 200ml serving. They also manufacture a no added sugar variant, this contains 1.6 g of sugar and sucralose artificial sweetener.

    The concern is that the retailer’s sees these as healthy options in the children’s drinks market and consumers alike, which is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

    There is no doubt that the large corporate organisations will attempt to address the healthy zero sugar options but to date they have been slow to respond due to the fact that they have such a large percentage of their business in key brands which are sugar based with a strong consumer following. Their marketing approach is to try and deflect this major issue with clever marketing without addressing the real issue at source. A key part of our strategy is to drive accelerated growth with an aggressive Education and Marketing program in 2015-2016, which will require significant funding.

  • Products/Services

    The Natural Drinks Company has undertaken four years of product development based on the use of Stevia, and they have created a range of soft drinks, all of which share the same key attributes:

    • Zero Sugar
    • No Calories
    • Great Taste
    • Contain Only Naturally Sourced Products
    • Free of All Artificial Additives and Colours


    Made with natural spring water and wonderful fruit flavours, the Frutree range of sugar free drinks are great to help keep kids refreshed when running, jumping, playing and exploring.Exlporing 3 great fruity flavours, the Company have a range of great tasting drinks for families to enjoy every day. Every bottle is completely FREE from sugar, artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. The line is stocked in 2675 stores across the UK and is sold in 4 packs of 250ml bottles.


    • Apple & Blackcurrant
    • Raspberry & Blueberry
    • Orange & Mango


    Frutree’s target demographic is the Gatekeeper/Parent, through the appeal of zero sugar, no artificial sweeteners and calorie free, however; the Company are also trying to target the child through brightly coloured, eye catching packaging, to push the child to pressure the parent to purchase the product. TNDC are not planning to invest much into the Frutree product range, instead focusing their investments on the developments and launches of the adult’s ranges Agua Tierra and Skinny Mixers.

    LAUNCH     December 2015


    Agua Tierra is a fruit flavoured still water, using similar principles as Frutree. The product is launching with three fruity flavours, and will be available to purchase in WHSmith stores from November 2016, with an international launch planned for early 2017.


    • Raspberry & Blueberry
    • Apple & Pear
    • Pineapple & Grapefruit


    Agua Tierra’s main target demographic is primarily 16-32 year olds, with the broader aim of appealing to all demographics.TNDC plan to invest £3m into the Agua Tierra range, with the hope of seeing large orders and substantial profits within the first two years.

    LAUNCH     September 2016


    The Company has designed a range of Skinny Tonics to be targeted at the premium adult market. The level of sugar in standard and diet tonic waters and other mixers is rarely appreciated. The Company believes that the Natural Drinks Company’s range of sugar-free tonics will differentiate its products amongst discerning adult drinkers and will command a premium price point.


    • Original Indian Tonic Water
    • Cucumber, Lime & Mint


    Skinny Tonic is aimed at 18-45 year olds.  The goal is to stock the range in bars, restaurants and clubs around the world. Over the next two years, TNDC are planning to invest approximately £4m in the Skinny Mixers range, with the future intent of developing new and exciting flavours such as; Skinny Soda & Skinny Ginger Ale.

    LAUNCH     TBA

  • Milestones

    The Board will consider a number of potential exit opportunities for investors. They believe that there are significant growth opportunities and that, as the recent success of Fever-Tree has demonstrated, there is considerable appetite and support amongst investors for a companies in this sector. An exit could be met through an eventual IPO on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange. This may be possible even as soon as H2 2017 subject to delivery of the business plan and general stock market conditions.

    The Board also realises that the UK soft drinks market is developing rapidly, in response to the growing concerns over sugar and the sugar tax. The major drinks companies are keen to maintain market share and the TNDC products may represent an irresistible method of accelerating their entry in to the zero sugar market. If so, the valuation that TNDC may attract from one of the major drinks companies could also provide an exit opportunity.

  • Key Data

    Segment Prime
    Market identifier
    Name Natural Drinks Company
    Short name NDC
    Sectors Consumer products
    Currency GBP
    Trade post 0
    Trade start 2016-07-22
    Number of shares 0
    Vat number
    Entity number
    Country United Kingdom
    Instrument type share
    Votes per share 1
    Stock type A

    The Plaza

    100 Old Hall Street Liverpool

    England L3 9QJ