Darby said recent JVs had given Premier funds to invest in marketing and innovation

Darby said recent JVs had given Premier funds to invest in marketing and innovation

In an exclusive interview with just-food last week, Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby explained the UK group's recent corporate manoeuvres. We also spoke to Bell Group CFO Martin Gysin, who outlined the Swiss group's frustration at being fined for its alleged part in the German sausage cartel.

"Collectively, based on the money we raised in that joint venture and the two shareholders put in, we have a pool of around GBP200m (US$339.6m) for capital, marketing and innovation over the next five years" - in an interview with just-food, Premier Foods CEO Gavin Darby outlines how the UK group's recent moves to spin-off assets into ventures can benefit its core business.

"The question now will be whether the new chief executive will have the courage to take early aggressive action, potentially going toe to toe with the discounters" - Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers, wonders if new Tesco CEO Dave Lewis will do battle with the likes of Aldi and Lidl in the UK.

"We've made a lot of progress with the three acquisitions helping our overall growth momentum. As we look externally, we think more acquisitions can help do the same type of thing" - Campbell Soup Co. CFO Anthony DiSilvestro says the US food group is looking for more deals to boost growth.

"Is it really a cartel when you are faced with a monopoly?" Martin Gysin, CFO of Bell Group, argues the sausage makers in Germany said to have fixed prices have to do business with "one decision-maker on price" - Aldi.

"Danone 2020 is an internal discussion which we have shared with you some bits of... It is about how do we in the future continue driving strong, sustainable, profitable growth and... how do we do it in the [existing] portfolio?" - Danone CFO Pierre-Andre Terisse plays down claims the French group had embarked on strategic overhaul to revitalise the business.

"Our challenge is to reposition our portfolio towards the growing segments" - Unilever CEO Paul Polman says the company needs to redirect its food range to the more buoyant parts of stagnant, mature markets.

"The world dairy industry is consolidating at an accelerated pace and our acquisition of Davisco supports our objective of increasing our global presence" - Agropur CEO Robert Coallier explains why the Canadian dairy co-op this week announced another acquisition - this time US cheese and ingredients supplier Davisco Foods International.

"We are very excited to introduce and grow these brands in Asia" - Universal Robina Corp. president and chief executive Lance Gokongwei sees potential for Griffin's Foods' portfolio in Asia after the Philippines-based food group snapped up the New Zealand biscuit maker.

"The proposal is part of the simplification and transformation of the company's bread manufacturing operations which aims to improve efficiency, quality and customer service" - UK baker Hovis explains why it is looking to close a plant in Leicester.

"The hub aims to help manufacturers develop new products to meet the increasing local and international demand for high quality dairy products particularly in Asia" - Associate Professor Sally Gras of the University of Melbourne outlines the reasons why academics have teamed up with the Australian dairy industry to set up an innovation "hub".