European consumer goods correspondent
David's Feed
Jul 30, 2012

Reckitt sees slow growth as southern Europe drags

LONDON, July 30 (Reuters) – British consumer goods group
Reckitt Benckiser cautioned its trading was tough in
southern Europe due to depressed consumer demand and stiff
competition and reported lagging half-year sales and earnings
growth compared with some rivals.

Its sales fell across the southern European markets of
Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal as it battled for market share
for products such as Finish dishwasher tablets and Vanish fabric

Jul 26, 2012

SABMiller scores with soccer-led growth in Europe

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) – Soccer fever helped global
brewer SABMiller to return to growth in Europe as the
Euro 2012 tournament boosted Polish beer sales and saw its
overall quarterly beer volumes beat forecasts with a 5 percent

The tournament in Poland and Ukraine boosted sales in Poland
by 11 percent in the brewer’s April-June first quarter and saw
its European sales, heavily weighed to the east, rise 7 percent
after several quarters of decline.

Jul 26, 2012

Emerging markets help Unilever avoid rivals’ pain

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) – Strong emerging markets helped
consumer goods giant Unilever avoid issuing
similar profit warnings as two of its main rivals, although it
did warn of tougher times ahead due to difficult economies and
volatile input costs.

The maker of brands such as Dove and Knorr is facing tough
trading in southern Europe and seeing some commodities costs
edge up. However, it stuck to its 2012 targets rather than alarm
investors like Danone and Procter & Gamble.

Jul 25, 2012

Emerging markets help BAT weather strong pound

LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) – British American Tobacco
expects good earnings growth this year despite the
strong pound holding back its performance at the half-year after
the world’s No.2 cigarette maker gained from price rises and
strong developing markets.

The London-based group, which makes Kent, Dunhill, Lucky
Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes, said on Wednesday earnings rose
7 percent in the first half and analysts sees a similar rise for
the full year with sterling’s strength still dampening growth.

Jul 24, 2012

Imperial Tobacco price rises offset falling sales

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – Price rises have lifted Imperial
Tobacco’s revenues despite a drop in sales volumes for
the world’s fourth largest cigarette group as it suffered in
recession-hit Spain’s shrinking market as well as Ukraine and

The British group, which sells over 340 billion cigarettes
annually of brands such as Gauloises, Davidoff, West and JPS,
said on Tuesday that revenue rose 3 percent for the nine months
to the end of June while volumes fell 3 percent.

Jul 6, 2012

Premier Foods still in a pickle despite Sarson’s sale

LONDON (Reuters) – Bird’s custard and chapatti flour are joining Hartley’s jam on the “for sale” rack of Premier Foods (PFD.L) as Britain’s biggest food group tries to reduce its hefty debts and meet bankers’ sell-off demands.

Weighed down by hefty debts taken on with its 1.2 billion pound ($1.88 billion) acquisition of Hovis and Mr Kipling group RHM in March 2007, just before the credit crisis and subsequent economic downturn, Premier is fighting for its life, contending with cashflow-sapping bank fees and the need to fill a hefty pension deficit.

Jul 6, 2012

Japan Tobacco feels UK has decided on plain packets

LONDON, July 6 (Reuters) – The British government has
already decided to require cigarettes to be sold in plain,
brand-free packets even though it has not yet completed its
consultation on the issue, cigarette maker Japan Tobacco
claimed on Friday.

The group, which sells Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut
cigarettes in Britain, believes Health Secretary Andrew
Lansley’s anti-smoking stance and a flawed consultation process
suggests the government will push ahead with so-called plain

Jun 29, 2012

Modelo may not quench thirst for beer deals

LONDON, June 29 (Reuters) – Big brewing deals are still very
much on the agenda, even after Anheuser-Busch InBev
buys out Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo for $20.1

The world’s largest brewer may well be back on the
acquisition trail in a couple of years, bankers and analysts
say, with its biggest rival SABMiller likely in its
sights. Meanwhile some family owners of the few remaining bid
targets may be tempted to cash in their scarcity value with
other buyers.

Jun 28, 2012

AB InBev’s Modelo deal may happen Friday-sources

LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) – Anheuser-Busch InBev
could announce a deal on Friday to buy the half share of
Mexico’s Grupo Modelo it does not already own for
around $15 billion, the latest of a string of deals as big
brewers look for growth from emerging markets, people familiar
with the matter said.

The world’s biggest brewer is in advanced talks with the
family shareholders who control Modelo and bankers were working
on Thursday to put the final touches on a deal that is
anticipated to be in cash rather than shares, they added.

Jun 26, 2012

Cheaper coffee helps Egberts take on Kraft

LONDON/AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Cheaper arabica beans and ambitious goals have given Dutch group D.E. Master Blenders 1753 (DEMB.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), maker of Douwe Egberts, a lift as it tries to overtake rival Kraft (KFT.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) to become the second largest player in the coffee world.

It has the freedom and war chest to take on Kraft and emulate world No 1 Nestle (NESN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) as it invests in its one-cup Senseo system, looks to expand outside Western Europe and perk up instant coffee output.

    • About David

      "I write on and co-ordinate coverage of European consumer goods companies from London. These include food groups such as Nestle, Unilever and Danone, drinks companies like Diageo, Heineken and SABMiller, and cigarette groups British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco. I have previously worked in Milan covering Italian financial news and before that specialised on the car industry and the engineering sector, and also have some experience of commodity coverage."
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