European consumer goods correspondent
David's Feed
May 10, 2012

Henkel seeks acquisitions as debt falls

LONDON (Reuters) – German consumer goods group Henkel (HNKG_p.DE: Quote, Profile, Research), set to become debt free next year, is looking for acquisitions for both its consumer brands and industrial adhesive businesses four years after its last major purchase.

Chief executive Kasper Rorsted, who has turned Henkel around in his four-year tenure with his ambitious and results-driven management, is looking to boost growth with acquisitions and also raise investment in fast-growing emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

May 9, 2012

InterContinental Hotels looks for Olympics boost

LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) – InterContinental, the
world’s biggest hotelier, is looking for a further boost from
London’s Olympic Games this summer, it said on Wednesday, after
reporting a 5 percent rise in first-quarter profits thanks to
strong growth in China and the United States, its two biggest
markets.

The British-based group, home to the Crowne Plaza, Holiday
Inn and InterContinental brands, said with 79 days to the start
of the Olympics it hoped to gain from assisting in running the
15,000-strong athletes village and lodging the games’ visitors
its London hotels.

May 3, 2012

China’s Bright Food buys Weetabix

SHANGHAI/LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) – China’s Bright Food will
take control of breakfast cereal maker Weetabix, beloved by
generations of British children, in the biggest foreign
acquisition by a Chinese food group.

State-owned Bright Food has agreed to buy a 60 percent stake
in a deal which puts a value of 1.2 billion pounds ($1.94
billion), including debt, on the private-equity owned company
that coined the slogan “Have you had your Weetabix today?”

May 3, 2012

Diageo raises a glass to emerging market growth

LONDON, May 3 (Reuters) – Sales at Diageo, the
world’s biggest distilled drinks group, were up 6 percent in the
first three months of 2012 with fast-growing emerging markets
and a recovery in North America offsetting falling sales in
Europe.

The London-based maker of Smirnoff vodka and Captain Morgan
rum said on Thursday that despite weakness in Europe its fiscal
third-quarter performance was in line with its expectations, and
this put it on track to hit its medium-term target which is also
for 6 percent sales growth.

May 1, 2012

Reckitt sees early boost from new strategy

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – British consumer goods group
Reckitt Benckiser reported a slightly better than
expected 4 percent rise in underlying first-quarter sales on
Tuesday as a new focus on its top brands and fastest growing
markets started to pay off.

New chief executive Rakesh Kapoor, who took over last
September after Bart Becht’s shock decision to retire, said the
group’s results were driven by strong emerging market growth and
success with a string of new products.

May 1, 2012

Imperial Tobacco sets buyback as troubles fade

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) – Imperial Tobacco, the
world’s No. 4 cigarette group, set a 500 million pound ($812
million) share buyback and said it saw a return to sales growth
as the West and Gauloises cigarette maker put many of its 2011
problems behind it.

The British company, which sells over 340 billion cigarettes
annually, reported that half-year earnings beat forecasts as it
gained from the ending of a price war in Spain and the unwinding
of destocking in the United States and Ukraine.

Apr 26, 2012

Unilever first quarter sales lifted by price hikes, emerging markets

LONDON (Reuters) – Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR.L: Quote, Profile, Research) (UNc.AS: Quote, Profile, Research) beat forecasts with an 8.4 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Thursday, helped by price hikes and emerging market growth.

The Anglo-Dutch maker of brands like Dove and Knorr is battling high input costs from rising commodity prices such as crude and vegetable oils, and slow growth in developed nations. It also cautioned that emerging market growth has started to slow especially in eastern Europe and Russia.

Apr 26, 2012

Unilever Q1 sales lifted by price hikes, emerging markets

LONDON (Reuters) – Consumer goods giant Unilever (ULVR.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (UNc.AS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) beat forecasts with an 8.4 percent rise in first-quarter sales on Thursday, helped by price hikes and emerging market growth.

The Anglo-Dutch maker of brands like Dove and Knorr is battling high input costs from rising commodity prices such as crude and vegetable oils, and slow growth in developed nations. It also cautioned that emerging market growth has started to slow especially in eastern Europe and Russia.

Apr 24, 2012

China’s mums key to Nestle baby milk deal

LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) – The rise of the middle-class Chinese working mother helps explain why Nestle paid nearly $12 billion for Pfizer’s baby food business and could leave rivals scrambling to catch up.

Across emerging markets, nowhere more than in China, women are increasingly keeping jobs after having children — a big driving force behind 10 percent annual growth in the $30 billion a year baby food industry.

Apr 24, 2012

AB Foods sees sugar boost as Primark recovers

LONDON, April 24 (Reuters) – Associated British Foods
forecast a “substantial” rise in full-year profits as
under-pressure British shoppers turned to its Primark discount
fashion stores and it benefited from high sugar prices to fuel a
5 percent half-year earnings rise.

The London-based food and retailing group expects growth to
pickup in its second half helped by falling cotton prices at
Primark although it saw no help coming for its businesses from
currently depressed Western European economies.

    • 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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