In the spotlight
Which manufacturers, retailers or issues are grabbing the headlines?
Post Holdings, the US food group, was this week announced as the new owner of Weetabix, the UK-based breakfast cereal business. The GBP1.4bn deal sees Post, one of the major cereal companies in the US, take on one of the leading players in the sector in the UK but one seeing muted growth in a challenging market – and a business seen to have hardly prospered under the ownership of China’s state-backed giant Bright Food. Post discussed its move with Wall Street analysts on Tuesday and Dean Best presents the key takeaways.
The UK has triggered Article 50 of the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty, so formally firing the starting gun on its departure from the 28-member bloc. Brexit is the most important political and economic event in the UK for a generation and has divided the country. A majority of the UK’s food sector wanted to stay in the EU and have significant concerns about the post-Brexit future. However, increasingly, businesses are acquiring a pragmatic view about the future – with some real anxieties remaining but a recognition opportunities could be seized – a stance heard last week at the IFE trade show in London. Dean Best reports.
General Mills this week reported another quarter of falling sales, leading industry watchers to wonder if the US food giant will lessen its focus on its margin target but, more critically, whether the company can revitalise its top line. Hannah Abdulla reports.
Less than three days was all it took for Kraft Heinz's GBP112bn (US$139.1bn) takeover approach to Unilever to become public, be rejected and subsequently be taken off the table. The attempt is likely to have some significant and far-reaching consequences for Unilever. Here, just-food takes a look at the impact the episode could have on the Dove-to-Knorr manufacturer.
It was Maple Leaf Foods' first major acquisition for over a decade and one very much in tune with one of the key trends in the North American marketplace. The Canada-based meat giant has become the latest in the sector to invest in the growing meat-free industry, snapping up US firm Lightlife Foods. Dean Best looks at the deal.
Danone focused much of its presentation at this week's Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference on its plans for the US. The French group generates around 13% of its sales in North America and believes there is ample room to grow. Danone also touched on its goals for 2020 and its cost-cutting drive and last week's move to "decouple" the group's aims to improve efficiency and increase sales. Here are the eight key takeaways from the event.
General Mills last week lowered its already weak forecast for its annual sales due to lower-tha-expected sales in US yogurt and soup. Unsurprisingly, then, the US food giant's efforts to reinvigorate its top line were the primary focus of its presentation at this week's Consumer Analyst Group of New York investor conference. Here are just-food's key takeaways from the event.
Kraft Heinz's takeover bid for Unilever came as something of a shock today – not least because of the seeming unlikely pairing of the 3G Capital-owned US group with the European food-to-personal care company. just-food asks whether the takeover offer should be taken at face value.
Announcing's Nestle 2016 results today (16 February) newly-installed CEO Mark Schneider revealed growth at the Swiss food giant came in below expectations. All eyes are now on Nestle's direction under Schneider, who joined the business at the start of this year. Will there be a greater focus on margin enhancement? Has Schneider totally abandoned the 'Nestle model' targeting 5-6% organic growth each year? Could large-scale acquisitions or disposals be on the cards? Katy Askew investigates.
Mead Johnson has been the subject of takeover talk ever since it was spun-off from pharma group Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009. Today's (10 February) news that the board of the US infant formula business has backed a potential sale came as little surprise - but what has raised eyebrows is the seemingly unlikely source of interest, UK condom-to-cleaning product provider Reckitt Benckiser. Katy Askew looks at the potential deal.
Mondelez International has delivered a lacklustre set of 2016 numbers but the snacks giant, which has been buffered by a challenging operating environment, stressed it continues to improve adjusted operating margins. With the entrance of 3G Capital into the food sector, margins have become a key metric for a number of the major names in the industry but Mondelez's results left some wondering if a focus on margins can hamper top-line growth. Katy Askew reports.
A new year, re-heated M&A speculation. Takeover talk is again centred on US-based infant formula group Mead Johnson, often seen as a target since it was spun off by pharma group Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2009. In the past, the chatter has focused on whether Danone would buy the Enfamil maker. Now, Nestle is in the spotlight. However, as Dean Best reports, such a deal looks unlikely - and, at present, the prospect of other suitors coming in appears just as slim.
Acquisitions have enabled B&G Foods to rapidly scale up in recent years. The company has grown from sales of around US$600m in 2012 to a forecast of $1.6bn in 2017. Two large-scale deals have boosted B&G: Green Giant in 2015 and ACH Foods last year. However, B&G's underlying sales have not been strong. The group's smaller brands, which generate annual sales in the region of $500m, have struggled. Even Green Giant is a brand that has been in decline for years. At the ICR investor conference in Florida last week, CEO Bob Cantwell outlined how the company intends to continue to grow in 2017 and beyond.
General Mills disappointed the market this week (20 December) when the US group lowered its full-year revenue outlook on the back of a 7.1% drop in sales during its second quarter. The company's aggressive cost-cutting programmes enabled it to maintain its margin guidance but, Katy Askew asks, is the group's weak top line evidence management has cut spending in certain areas too deeply?
General Mills has announced plans to reorganise its business in a move the US company said would enable it to capitalise on its international presence. But will it address some of the fundamental issues limiting growth at the Cheerios-to-Yoplait maker? Katy Askew reports.
- Analysis: Post discusses rationale for Weetabix
- Interview: Sir Kensington's on sale to Unilever
- US food next wave on display at Winter Fancy Food
- Column: Why snacking is the new meal
- Who will buy Danone's Stonyfield business?
- Unilever buys US condiments maker Sir Kensington's
- Ice cream helps Unilever sales, food flat
- Suntory to offload Australia, New Zealand foods
- Nestle organic growth slows but beats expectations
- Post: Weetabix "opens up M&A opportunities"