Grant Thornton Australia’s strategic vision of being growth advisers to mid-size businesses and a leading adviser to the retail sector has been significantly boosted with the announcement today it has merged with GNC Group Consulting Pty Ltd., a Melbourne-based retail consulting firm with operations in Australia and south-east Asia.
The merger, which follows a record 2016-17 profit for Grant Thornton’s Australian operation, is another important step in the ongoing strategy to build its growth advisory capabilities to complement its traditional accounting, auditing and taxation work.
Greg Keith, CEO of Grant Thornton Australia, said the merger with GNC Group Consulting would allow the company to provide its retail clients with specialised advisory services including commercial finance, category management, end-to-end supply chain management, process optimisation, technology strategy, and property services.
GNC Group Consulting was founded in 2010 by former retail executives, Nick Johnston, Jamie Downs and Luke Ritchie. It has since grown to include more than fifty consultants with offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Malaysia.
GNC Group Consulting currently provides profit optimisation capability to some of the largest retailers and consumer products companies in Australia and south-east Asia. It has increased revenues by more than 60% per year over each of the past two years.
Greg Keith said he was thrilled to welcome the GNC Group Consulting team into Grant Thornton and said the combined offering would ensure benefits for clients of both companies, especially in the retail sector where Grant Thornton has significant reach.
“We have had a very clear plan to expand our growth advisory expertise and to provide our clients - particularly mid-size clients - with more expertise and advice to help them to grow. GNC Group Consulting has deep experience advising some of the most successful retailers in the country and we’re looking to bring their capabilities in house,” Mr Keith said.
“With the arrival of Amazon and other global heavyweights, Australian companies need to respond and have a plan across all aspects of their business and GNC Group Consulting provide greater expertise to retail clients to be able to successfully expand their businesses.”
Our Growth Advisory team – which is essentially the consultancy arm of our business - will make up approximately 15% of our revenue with GNC Group Consulting part of the organisation and we aim to elevate that figure to over 25% within the next few years.”
“We do not plan to talk about the terms of the transaction but will say that the agreement is share price accretive, dividend accretive and profit accretive for Grant Thornton.”
The two companies plan to initially operate largely independently after merging. Grant Thornton will provide the back-office support and access to its shared services needed for further expansion. GNC Group Consulting will continue to operate under its current brand for at least a year.
GNC Group Consulting Partner Luke Ritchie said the agreement would allow his company to rapidly develop its capacity to service more clients across Australia and south-east Asia.
“There is a really good fit between the two companies. We will have the advantages that come with being part of a well-respected global firm and we’ll integrate with their growth advisory people to bring some of our experience to Grant Thornton’s clients,” said Mr Ritchie. “We’re confident we can also draw from Grant Thornton’s existing capability to enhance our offer to current and future GNC Group Consulting clients.”
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