Beston brands include Edwards Crossing cheese

Beston brands include Edwards Crossing cheese

Beston Global Food Co. chief executive Sean Ebert is to step down from the helm of the Australian manufacturer at the end of October.

Ebert, who has been Beston's CEO for three years, will stay on at the business as head of its dairy division.

The announcement was made alongside the publication of Beston's annual financial results, which saw a doubling in sales but a loss of more than AUD12m (US$8.7m).

In a filing with the Australian Securities Exchange, Beston said Ebert had "successfully navigated" the business through its "start-up and asset development phase" since its IPO in 2015 "and has recognised a different skill set may be required by the company over the next three to five years".

The filing read: "BFC is transitioning into a more mature company and it is vitally important that the right resources are in place across the whole of the management team to enable the company to realise its potential for shareholders."

Beston has assets in sectors including dairy, meat and seafood.

In the year to the end of June, Beston generated revenue of AUD47.9m, more than double that made in the previous 12 months, with the company pointing to increased sales from dairy products.

However, Beston booked a loss of AUD12.6m for the year, a result it described as "disappointing", citing costs in China, delays related to a new mozzarella plant and expenses as the group scaled up at home and abroad.

After listing in 2015, Beston had expected some 90% of its annual sales would come from China in each of the following three years, a period it has dubbed a "build-out phase" for the business.

That expectation was based on sales commitments made by a China-based business, which was a cornerstone investor in Beston at the time of the IPO.

However, Beston has said those sales commitments "were not subsequently delivered, for reasons internal to that shareholder".

Beston has sought to step up its efforts to generate sales at home and, in its most recent financial year, 90% of its sales came from Australia.

Looking ahead, Beston said its board believed the company is "well on-track to increasing top-line revenues, margins and profits" and pointed to projects including the commissioning of the mozzarella plant and the restructuring of its sales team.

Beston added: "The confidence of the board in the future direction of the company is underscored by the fact that a number of the directors of BFC have significantly increased their shareholdings in the company over the past twelve months."