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Feb 12, 2014

Whyte & Mackay sale could kick off next week: sources

LONDON (Reuters) – India’s United Spirits (UNSP.NS: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has hired banks to help in the sale of its Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky business, which could fetch 450 million pounds ($741.8 million) and is expected to kick off next week, sources told Reuters.

Rothschild ROT.UL, Rabobank RABN.UL and Standard Chartered (STAN.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have been picked to advise on the sale, which was offered in November to appease UK regulators by Diageo (DGE.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) following the latter’s purchase of a controlling stake in United Spirits.

Feb 12, 2014

Reckitt Benckiser sees more sales growth, names chairman for pharma unit

LONDON, Feb 12 (Reuters) – Consumer goods group Reckitt
Benckiser reported a rise in sales and forecast further
growth this year, despite challenges in emerging markets, and
named a new chairman for its declining pharmaceuticals business
to help with a strategic review.

The company did not say what option it was leaning towards
for the business, which centres on the opiod-dependence drug
Suboxone, but some analysts took the appointment of drugs
industry veteran Howard Pien chairman as a sign it might be
preparing for a sale.

Jan 31, 2014

For companies, a rocky road ahead in emerging markets

CHICAGO/LONDON (Reuters) – International companies are taking steps to mitigate the effects of the turmoil in emerging markets, including hedging foreign currency exposure more aggressively, reducing some investment plans, cutting costs, and raising prices frequently.

While executives are not hitting the panic button just yet, and many say the risks they face are hardly unique, they are still aggressively tackling costs and making sure that revenue keeps up with inflationary pressures. And many warn that if China suffers a credit crisis as some fear, then things could get a whole lot worse.

Jan 30, 2014

Diageo’s sales growth slows on emerging markets weakness

LONDON, Jan 30 (Reuters) – Diageo, the world’s
biggest distilled drinks company reported a slowdown in sales
growth in the last six months after demand in China and some
other important emerging markets dropped sharply.

The maker of Johnnie Walker whisky, Smirnoff vodka and
Guinness beer, which generates about 42 percent of its sales
from emerging markets, reported a 1.8 percent rise in sales for
the first half of its fiscal year ending in June, following a
rise of 2.2 percent in the first quarter, with analysts
estimating growth in the second quarter slowing to 1.6 percent.

Jan 27, 2014

Premier Foods hands control of Hovis to U.S. Gores Group

PARIS (Reuters) – Britain’s Premier Foods (PFD.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) will hand control of Hovis bread to U.S. investment firm The Gores Group, in a deal which values the struggling unit at 87.5 million pounds ($144.40 million).

The deal puts an end to months of speculation about the direction of the ailing business, which has suffered from intense competition from branded and private label players, and should inject new capital to allow Premier Foods to focus on its other grocery brands, such as Mr. Kipling cakes.

Jan 24, 2014

Mexico draws over $7 billion in foreign investment at Davos

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – Pepsico, Nestle and Cisco on Friday announced major investments that together totaled more than $7 billion in Mexico, where the government has pushed through a series of economic reforms that aim to boost foreign investment and growth.

Mexico has embraced free trade policies in recent decades, and has drawn growing investment interest after President Enrique Pena Nieto made a landmark reform drive in his first year in office, pushing major telecommunications, energy, banking and tax legislation through a divided Congress.

Jan 21, 2014

Unilever sticks with emerging markets as sales rebound

LONDON (Reuters) – Unilever said it would stick to its emerging markets growth strategy as a fourth-quarter recovery in sales in the region boosted the consumer goods maker’s 2013 results and reassured investors who had been worried about consumer demand there.

Unilever generates more than half of its sales in emerging and developing markets, so was hurt by economic weakness last year in countries such as Indonesia and the devaluation of currencies including the Brazilian real and Indian rupee.

Jan 21, 2014

SABMiller beer volumes disappoint, shares fall

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – SABMiller, the world’s
No. 2 brewer, reported third-quarter sales, hurt by weaker beer
volume, sending its shares down 2 percent in morning trading.

The maker of beers including Peroni Nastro Azzurro and
Grolsh said on Tuesday that net producer revenue rose 4 percent
for the quarter ended Dec. 31, in line with its expectations.

Jan 21, 2014

Emerging markets rebound lifts Unilever results and shares

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – A fourth-quarter recovery in
emerging markets sales boosted consumer goods maker Unilever
‘s 2013 results and sent its shares higher on
Tuesday morning as investors greeted the news with relief.

Unilever generates more than half of its sales in developing
and emerging markets. It was hit hard in the third quarter by
slower economic growth in countries such as Indonesia and the
devaluation of a handful of currencies including the Brazilian
real and the Indian rupee – all of which crimped consumer

Jan 14, 2014

Japan’s Suntory to buy U.S. spirits maker Beam for $13.6 billion cash

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Suntory Holdings Ltd SUNTH.UL on Monday said it would buy U.S. spirits company Beam Inc (BEAM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for $13.6 billion cash in a deal that would make the Japanese company the world’s third-largest spirits maker.

Including the assumption of Beam’s net debt, the deal is valued at $16 billion. It brings together Beam’s Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark bourbons, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila with Suntory’s Yamazaki, Hakushu, Hibiki and Kakubin Japanese whiskies, Bowmore Scotch whisky and Midori liqueur.