European consumer goods correspondent
David's Feed
Mar 22, 2012

Sara Lee serves up fresh coffee brew in Europe

AMSTERDAM/LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) – An independent Douwe
Egberts coffee company, being spun out of Sara Lee this
summer, is set to step up the battle with rivals Nestle
and Kraft by expanding into new countries,
premium products and possibly making acquisitions.

Analysts believe the new company, to be called D.E. Master
Blenders 1753 and listed in Amsterdam by the end of June, could
breathe fresh life into its Senseo single-serve brewed coffee
system, which competes with Nestle’s Nespresso and Kraft’s
Tassimo coffee systems.

Mar 15, 2012

Starbucks’ coffee maker may drain Nespresso’s growth

LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) – Plans by Starbucks
to launch a rival coffee machine to Nespresso may
derail owner Nestle’s hopes for growth in the United
States after the George Clooney-marketed system has proved a hit
with espresso coffee lovers across Europe.

Starbucks’ news last week sent shares in Green Mountain
Coffee Roaster tumbling as the seller of Keurig
machines controls more than three-quarters of the U.S.
single-cup coffee market. But analysts see Starbucks’ move as
more likely to hit Nestle’s fastest-growing big brand.

Mar 13, 2012

SABMiller strives to make beer affordable in Africa

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) – Africa’s biggest brewer
SABMiller is ratcheting up production of more affordable
beers in the continent using sorghum and cassava in place of
more expensive barley to drive growth in what is already the
group’s fastest growing region.

The London-based brewer’s Africa region – minus South Africa
- produces 13 percent of group profits, and strong beer volume
and earnings growth is being driven by its biggest markets such
as Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana.

Mar 2, 2012

Nestle and Danone-Mead to battle for Pfizer unit

LONDON (Reuters) – Nestle (NESN.VX: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will battle a Danone-Mead Johnson (DANO.PA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) (MJN.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) team for Pfizer’s (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) $10 billion infant nutrition business next week, with the Swiss giant tipped as favorite, people familiar with the situation said on Friday.

The Pfizer unit being sold is a high-growth $2.1 billion turnover business with over 70 percent of sales in emerging markets and a key position in China, and has attracted the attention of the three largest players in the infant milk formula sector.

Mar 1, 2012

Asahi seen as frontrunner to buy StarBev: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – Japanese brewer Asahi (2502.T: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) is emerging as a frontrunner to buy eastern European brewer StarBev, a sale expected to fetch up to $3 billion for private equity owner CVC Capital Partners, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

The private equity group is gearing up to sell the business in around two weeks after receiving several approaches from a number of global brewing groups, the people said. CVC bought StarBev in December 2009.

Feb 29, 2012

Diageo appoints Menezes heir apparent

LONDON, Feb 29 (Reuters) – Diageo, the world’s
largest spirits company, promoted Ivan Menezes to a new role of
chief operating officer on Wednesday, in a move that could see
him eventually take over from 56-year old chief executive Paul
Walsh.

Menezes, 52, has been president of Diageo’s biggest region
North America since 2004, and will take up his new role on March
1. He will lead Diageo’s operating business globally, making him
the leading internal front-runner for the top job.

Feb 28, 2012

Spirits groups join emerging market party

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The world’s biggest spirits
groups were late to exploit demand from emerging markets and a
wave of acquisitions over the next few years looks likely as
they play catch-up.

The likes of Diageo (DGE.L: Quote, Profile, Research) and Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research)
delayed their entry to the emerging markets party because they
assumed drinkers in China, India and Mexico would not pay up for
premium whiskies and vodkas in preference to local spirits.

Feb 27, 2012

AB Foods profit growth driven by Primark and sugar

LONDON, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Primark-owner Associated
British Foods expects growth in its half year profits to
be driven by its discount fashion chain, which has gained as
under-pressure British shoppers seek out bargain prices, and by
a strong performance from sugar.

Western European shoppers have cut back on spending as
unemployment has risen and wage rises stagnate, but Primark
which earns a third of the group’s profits, has faired better
than most with its offer of cheap chic along the high street.

Feb 24, 2012

Mead-Danone to fight Nestle for Pfizer unit-sources

NEW YORK/LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) – Mead Johnson
and Danone have teamed up to bid for Pfizer’s
$10 billion infant nutrition business, pitting them in a
two-horse race against Nestle in the next auction
round due March 5.

Mead and Danone have secured Pfizer’s permission to bid
together after weighting up a joint approach for several weeks
in a move to boost their firepower and allow them to overcome
antitrust concerns, sources familiar with the situation said.

Feb 23, 2012

BAT in £1.25 billion share buyback as earnings rise

LONDON (Reuters) – British American Tobacco (BATS.L: Quote, Profile, Research), the world’s second-biggest cigarette maker, increased its share buyback to 1.25 billion pounds after it raised prices and saw strong growth in emerging markets to help boost full-year earnings.

The London-based maker of Dunhill, Kent, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall cigarettes bought back 750 million pounds of shares in 2011 and has raised its 2012 program, confident it has growth ahead and firepower for acquisitions.

    • 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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