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European Business News – Week ending October 29, 2010

 Breaking News
  • UK Grocery Prices Rising at Fastest Rate in Four Years The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel, for the 12 weeks to 5 November 2017, show UK supermarket sales have increased in value by 3.2% year-on-year in the run up to Christmas. Fraser McKevitt, head of retail and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel, explains: “Volume sales have increased by less than 1%, meaning it’s [...]...
  • Alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing to Go Ahead in Scotland The UK Supreme Court has ruled that minimum unit pricing for alcohol, which was passed overwhelmingly by the Scottish Parliament in 2012, can now proceed. Scottish Health Secretary Shona Robison has welcomed the decision and confirmed she intends to make a statement to Parliament shortly, setting out the Scottish Government’s next steps. Following the unequivocal backing [...]...
  • GEA Brings Together Technologies to Supply Extended Production Line For BMI GEA has recently been selected to supply an extended pasta filata cheese production line for BMI in Jessen, Germany. With this exemplary project GEA brings together its joint cheese-making expertise, resulting from its acquisition of de Klokslag and CMT in 2014 and 2015 respectively, with GEA’s flow and processing experience to provide a single offering for this [...]...
  • Bosch Packaging Technology Wins German Design Award 2018 The Sigpack VPF (Vertical Platform for Flat Pouches), the first freely scalable flat pouch machine from Bosch, has been honoured with the German Design Award 2018 in the Excellent Product Design category. The German Design Council presents the prestigious award on an annual basis. The German Design Award is the second prestigious accolade for the [...]...
  • Premier Foods Returns to Revenue Growth Premier Foods, the UK convenience food group, has reported group revenue of £353.3 million for the 26 weeks ended 30 September 2017 – an increase of 1.5% on the prior period – with Branded revenue in line with last year at £295.4 million while Non-branded revenue increased by 10.1% to £57.9 million. Group reported half year [...]...

European Business News – Week ending October 29, 2010

November 01
13:04 2010

Russia has been in the news lately with PepsiCo announcing plans to build a $140m factory, its tenth plant in the country, as part of a $1b investment programme. The US-based soft drinks and snacks behemoth has already invested $3b in developing its Russian business over the previous decade and sees the region as providing one of its most exciting growth opportunities.

Danone is also targeting Russia. The French food giant has now received regulatory approval for the merger of its fresh dairy products operations in Russia with those of Unimilk, Russia’s second largest manufacturer of dairy products and baby food. To facilitate the Unimilk deal, Danone has sold its 18.4% stake in Wimm Bill Dann Foods, the market leader in Russian dairy and baby food, for $470m. Danone has held the stake since Wimm Bill Dann’s IPO in 2002, which provided the platform for the Russian group to expand its geographical footprint by acquiring successful businesses in Russia and the CIS, while investing heavily in modernising its production facilities.

International Expansion

Two other French groups, Florette and Bonduelle, are continuing their international expansion. Florette is commencing fresh salads production in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, while Bonduelle has opened its first factory in Brazil to cater for the growing canned vegetables market there.

Having disposed of its dairy business to Lacatlis of France for Eur630m to concentrate on developing its core rice and other food activities, Ebro Foods is closing in on a major acquisition in Australia. Spain’s largest food group is negotiating a Eur420m takeover of SunRice which would give it leading positions in the branded rice foods markets in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, the Middle East and California/Hawaii in the US.

Tough Times for Premier Foods

Close on the heels of agreeing to pay out £167m over the next four years to restructure and de-risk its interest rate swap portfolio as part of its strategy to place the group on a more stable financial footing, Premier Foods has reported a slowdown in trading in its third quarter with sales of its branded products slipping by 0.5%, despite volume growth of 4.5%, and total group sales down 4.2% owing to a reduction in non-branded sales.

The sharp rise in wheat prices has forced the UK’s largest domestic food processor to increase the price of Hovis, Britain’s second largest bread brand after Warburtons. However, Tesco, the country’s largest grocery retailer, has subsequently de-listed 12 Hovis products following the rise in price.

Since its £1.2b acquisition of RHM in February 2007 shortly after its £480m purchase of Campbell Soup’s British and Irish operations, Premier Foods has struggled with its billion-pound debt mountain. It is currently trying to sell its meat-free business, based on the Quorn brand, to reduce debt, but speculation is mounting that it will also have to dispose of Hovis, as pressure mounts on chief executive Robert Schofield.

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