Highly Profitable Iconic Lifestyle Business

For Sale by Private Treaty – Fishermen’s Wharf Seafoods and Bub’s Fish & Chips

Business Overview

Business Overview

Business/Trading Name: Nelson Bay Fishermen’s Wharf Seafoods and Bub’s Fish & Chips

ABN: 13 150 945 770

Postal address: PO Box 209, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Business location: 1 Teramby Road, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Established: 1999 / With current owners since 2004 (14 years)

Owners: FWNB Pty Limited and Hofbauer Family Trust and JH Trust Partnership

Principals: Joanne Howarth / Peter Hofbauer

Nature of business: Seafood Retail Fish Market & Cooked Fish & Chippery

Trading hours (Bubs): 7 days from 11am to 3pm. Extended hours Fridays and Saturdays to 8pm

Trading hours (Retail): 7 days from 7:30am to 5pm

Area serviced: Port Stephens, Newcastle, Hunter Valley, Sydney

Reasons For Sale

Reasons For Sale

The vendors live in Sydney and have very diverse business interests which include international operations which they now visit with increasing frequency.

The business has operated virtually under management for the last 10 years. The owners are present only during peak trading periods at Christmas, Australia Day and Easter.

They are committed to assisting the purchasers both during a two week transitional training period and also with planning for high season. This will be around July/August.

Business Financials

Business Financials

Turnover: 2015 $2,081,821, 2016 $2,057,107, 2017 $1,983,132 and 2018 $2,029,451 (Draft)

Adjusted EBITDA: 2015 $576,670, 2016 $479,965 and 2017 $426,787 / 3 year average = $494,474 *. 2018 $522,946 (Draft)

Equipment: All included (None on lease)

Asking Price: NOW REDUCED FROM $1.5M TO $1.25M (excl. SAV approx $100,000)

*Please note: The decrease in EBITDA is directly attributable to current owners’ involvement in the business decreasing since 2014 due to both ill health and a focus on other business interests.

In 2014 the current owners secured a three year contract to supply portion size seafood packs to Hello Fresh, one of Australia’s largest home delivered meal companies.

This business expanded rapidly, starting with 800 packs per week and grew very quickly to 30,000 packs per week. At that point it was not practical to continue to pack from Nelson Bay and a purpose built 3000 sqm warehouse facility was set up as a separate entity in Sydney – a business that has now been taken over by Hello Fresh themselves. The focus on building up this business for sale had a direct impact on EBITDA during the last few years.

However, prior to that when the owners were quite involved in managing the business (albeit remotely), turnover was $2.7M and normalised profitability was $805k. This level of profitability is easily achievable again with renewed focus from a new owner.

However the current valuation is of course based on the average EBITDA over the last 3 years and the asking price is now 2.5 times that figure.


Purchasing Fishermen’s Wharf Seafoods and Bubs Famous Fish and Chips provides so much more than acquiring your standard takeaway fish and chip shop, which would typically be valued at around 1.8x EBIT. On offer here are two complimentary yet highly profitable retail stores, resulting in two lucrative income streams.

For this opportunity, the reduced asking price of 2.5 x EBITDA takes into account: the unique positioning of the combined businesses and the direct relationship with the Co-Op; the experienced management team already in place; its unrivalled reputation for providing the freshest award winning seafood; the long and very favourable lease terms; the potential to easily grow Bub’s revenue by increasing the seating capacity; and the opportunities to expand into untapped local wholesale and overseas export markets (typically to Asian countries where demand is high).

With the on-line food sector growing stronger every year there is of course also a great opportunity to replicate the supply of fresh portion size seafood packs for one of the other players in the home food delivery market place to be sold outside the region. The pristine waters of Nelson Bay gives the business a competitive advantage in marketing the product and the supply chain is already in place. This would increase the volume of fish processed through the business, improve buying power still further, stabilise the revenue stream and cash flow over the whole year, and it also gives the business an opportunity to build on its brand and customer reach, thus encouraging increased visitations.

The current owners are clearly well connected in this e-commerce and meal kit space and have offered assistance if this is something the new owners of Fishermen’s Wharf & Bubs would like to explore.

Finance Appraisal

Finance Appraisal

Paul Herrmann of Finlease has provided a Banking Appraisal for the purchase of this business.

Paul confirms the normalised profit figure ($572,089 over the last 4 years) is more than ample to service an ongoing liability sum of $11,682 per month – calculated as borrowing the original guide price of $1.5M at current interest rates over 15 years.

External security would be needed as collateral – most lenders requiring in the vicinity of $1,875,000 Fair Market Value residential property or $2,143,000 Fair Market Value for a commercial property. A deposit of say $500,000 would reduce the external security required to $1,250,000 for residential property and $1,429,000 commercial property (both at Fair Market Values).

This information does not constitute formal financial advice but is expressed as a professional opinion – Paul’s letter and contact details can be seen here.

Retail, Bub's and Total Sales by Month

Retail, Bub's and Total Sales by Month
Retail, Bub's and Total Sales by Month


Normalisations have been made to the year-end financial statements of the business as lodged with the ATO to exclude revenues and expenses which relate to other business which are unrelated to the business being sold. It is noted that the income reflected in the above table is as per the till tapes from the point of sale system in the retail shop and Bub’s takeaway.

These other business have been operated by the same company and relate to the following:

a) The wholesale supply of fresh produce including fish, chicken, fruit and vegetables to Hello Fresh as part of the packing and fulfillment contract.

b) The ice cream and drink vending for the Arizona steak restaurant during the Royal Easter Show.

Premises Lease - Details

Premises Lease - Details

Premises: 1 Teramby Road, Nelson Bay NSW 2315

Head Lessor: The Department of Lands (formerly The Minister of Public Works)

Lessee: The Commercial Fishermen’s Co-Operative Limited

Sub Lessee: The Hofbauer Family Trust and The JH Trust in Partnership

Premises Lease - Term and Cost

Premises Lease - Term and Cost

Sub Lease term: 18 years, 1 month, 23 days

Current Lease expiry: 28/10/2022 with 2 x 5 year options until 28/10/2032

Rent: $110,547 plus GST per annum + outgoings

Income from sub tenant: (Solicitor in upstairs office) $25,000 plus GST per annum + outgoings

Net rent: $85,547 plus GST per annum + outgoings

Monthly commitment: $9,212.30 + GST (Total $10,133.53 per calendar month)

Premises Lease - Reviews and Usage

Premises Lease - Reviews and Usage

Rent reviews: Annually, upon anniversary at CPI

Market reviews: Not applicable

Permitted usage: Wholesale and retail sale of seafood (Shop 2) / Take away seafood shop (Shop 3) / Level 1 (No 4 & No 5) Office space (1 sublet to solicitor)

Summary of Key Strengths

Summary of Key Strengths

  • waterfront location – amazing views, gives direct competitive advantage
  • partnership with Co-Op provides strength and reliability of product
  • ample car parking for customers and staff
  • relationships with the commercial fishing fleet strong and sustainable
  • long established ‘iconic’ business with good reputation proven ‘successful’ operators with excellent local knowledge
  • affiliation with the Co-Op reinforces the message DIRECT from the TRAWLERS, FRESHNESS and QUALITY
  • Bub’s enjoys strong brand recognition. Everyone walks into the visitors centre and asks for Bub’s!
  • workplace culture positive – staff enjoy being part of a successful venture
  • presentation of the shop, well-maintained, clean
  • business operates well ‘under management’
  • purchasing through well established network of suppliers
  • strength in proactive marketing strategies (billboards, consumer based promotions, direct marketing)
  • size of the shop – range and variety of species gives us a ‘perceived’ benefit in the eyes of our customers
  • TURNOVER of the PRODUCT equates to FRESHNESS
  • excellent manager who is committed to the business … exacting standards ‘treats the business as her own’
  • industry recognition as being at the forefront of seafood
Summary of Key Opportunities

Summary of Key Opportunities

  • The business holds 80% of the local market and has capacity to expand into interstate and national markets.
  • Opportunity to restructure business with focus more on cooked seafood (higher margins) and less of fresh seafood.
  • Increase coolroom capacity.
  • Develop a ‘landmark’ destination which will be on the ‘MUST SEE’ of every tourist – a private function venue and a community event location on the water.
  • Environmental and scientific awards, involvement and support.
  • A potential jetty for water-travellers to stop by.
  • Opportunity to expand Bub’s over two levels (dine in).
  • Port Stephens area – outstanding growth potential.
  • Port Stephens Council initiatives to encourage tourism and continuing residential growth opportunities to support and sponsor.
  • Local sporting clubs and community organisation
  • Increase revenue by sub-leasing the first floor office.
  • Acquire an export licence to capitalise on fast growing demand for Australian seafood in China.

Competitor Analysis

Retail_Seafood_Business_For_Sale_Competitor Analysis 1

Retail_Seafood_Business_For_Sale_Competitor Analysis 2

Committed Team

Committed Team

All staff are eager to remain with the business including Anna, who has been the manager for the past eight years.

The management team includes one manager, and key personnel including two fish cutters and two retail shop assistants, all of whom work the equivalent of full time hours. In total, there are 15 current employees, the majority of whom are casual and work 30 plus hours per week to give ultimate flexibility around seasonality. During peak season these numbers are increased by 8-10 extra personnel, predominately travellers or students.

Retail_Seafood_Business_For_Sale_Staff Listing