Investment group JAB and drinks giant Pepsico are working on diversification, the former has set its eyes on a British sandwich chain and the latter has bought a maker of healthy snacks. Australia's struggling retailers are facing further upheaval thanks to Ebay's new delivery service, while traders in India object to the Walmart Flipkart merger.




Tuesday, 29 May 2018





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Investment group JAB and drinks giant Pepsico are working on diversification, the former has set its eyes on a British sandwich chain and the latter has bought a maker of healthy snacks. Australia's struggling retailers are facing further upheaval thanks to Ebay's new delivery service, while traders in India object to the Walmart Flipkart merger.




Europe


Growing empire ▪ Private equity firm Bridgepoint, the owner of Pret a Manger, is set to sell the UK-based sandwich shop chain for GBP 1.5 billion to JAB Holdings, the Luxembourg-based investment company owned by German billionaire family Reimann. The deal will add another asset to JAB's prospering coffee business.



Action on plastics ▪ The European Commission proposed banning single-use plastics such as cotton buds and plastic straws and putting the burden of cleaning up waste on manufacturers in an effort to reduce marine litter. Retailers support the action but are concerned over practicalities.



Dealing with debts ▪ Croatian retail group Agrokor will be taken over by a Dutch-based company, owned by creditors, under a proposed debt settlement plan. Agrokor was put under state-run administration in April last year, crippled by debts built up during an ambitious expansion drive.



Cross-border expansion ▪ British chain Iceland is seeking further sites across Norway, following the opening of its first outlet in the country, in the Greater Oslo region. Meanwhile, Tesco has announced the opening of a GBP 30 million environmentally-friendly Tesco Extra store in Dublin, which will create over 175 jobs.




Asia & Australia


Delivery options ▪ American e-commerce heavyweight Ebay has announced a new membership delivery service, Ebay Plus, in Australia. After completing its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business, ride-hailing firm Grab has launched food delivery business GrabFood in the region.



Southeast Asian alliance ▪ Vietnam’s supermarket operator Saigon Co-op and Singapore’s NTUC FairPrice grocery network have opened the third Cheers convenience store in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. It features dine-in areas and is open 24 hours. The joint venture plans to open 50 outlets this year.



Merger challenged ▪ An Indian trader body has raised objections to Walmart USD 16 billion acquisition of the Indian e-tailer Flipkart, claiming it would create unfair competition and result in predatory pricing. However, lawyers said the complaint to the country’s antitrust regulator is unlikely to threaten the deal.




US & Latin America


Healthy addition ▪ In line with its strategy to shift toward healthier options, Pepsico will acquire Bare Foods, an American maker of baked fruit and vegetable snacks. It is the latest effort of the beverage giant toward the more natural, less-processed foods required by an increasingly health-conscious public.



Solid results ▪ Cencosud, a leading South American retailer with operations in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Colombia, delivered a good performance in the first quarter according to its financial boss Rodrigo Larrain. This was mainly driven by improved activity and profitability in Argentina.




Insider Insights


Foreign fiasco ▪ The foray of Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers into the British market is labelled a billion-dollar disaster. The Sydney Morning Herald tries to understand how the company got it so wrong, while other experts blame the management, which has been tested away from its cosy home patch and again failed.



Mountain to climb ▪ South Africa's Woolworths has a monumental task ahead if it is to revive its ailing department store chain David Jones. Despite investing in the business by adding food halls to its stores and refurbishing its Sydney flagship, analysts are sceptical and say the store model is fast becoming outdated.