If last week’s common theme was rising commodity costs, this week’s focus was firmly on M&A, with retailers including Iceland Foods, Ahold and Delhaize announcing acquisitions or the desire to acquire, while Carrefour finally revealed plans to spin-off its property and Dia portfolios. Meanwhile, Philip Clarke took up his role as the new CEO of Tesco and just-food spoke to Fairtrade Foundation director Harriet Lamb. Here’s the best of what was said this week:
“We are always looking at expansion in the UK. We opened 71 new stores last year. We’ll probably get 60 this year. But we are to ramp that up. And we’ve got another – easily – 300 locations to look at” – Iceland CEO Malcolm Walker on the group’s plans.
“We are ready with our foundation, our consolidated platform, to start working on integration and acquisitions in a better way than a couple of years ago. Today, we are much better positioned” – Ahold CEO Dick Boer reveals the company’s expansion plans.
“Dia has a destiny by itself. We need to concentrate on Carrefour” – Carrefour CEO Lars Olofsson tells analysts why it is spinning off its Dia discount chain.
“This transaction is an important step in rebalancing our geographic portfolio between our US, European and Asian operations” – Delhaize president and CEO Pierre-Olivier Beckers says why it acquired Serbian retailer Delta Maxi.
“In September 2010, we shared with investors our strategic plan to accelerate revenue growth, expand operating margins and optimise our capital structure. The results from this fiscal year are a positive reflection of this plan” – Family Dollar Stores chairman and CEO Howard Levine rebuffs a takeover bid by activist investor Nelson Peltz and his Trian fund.
“Phil’s worked on the business for 20 years in the UK, he’s run Europe, he’s run Asia, he’s run group logistics, he’s run group IT, so there’s likely to be little that he hasn’t been involved in and that he hasn’t touched. It’s about things that need to be fine-tuned rather than rebuilding the engine” – Shore Capital analyst Clive Black on new Tesco CEO Philip Clarke’s ability to lead the retailer.
As expected, the EBITDA conversion in the first quarter was ahead of the second half of 2010″ – Ocado CFO Andrew Bracey on the online grocer’s efforts towards profitability.
“What you don’t want in the first round is all the charlatans coming through the system, so therefore you set the goalposts very high. You have to be rigorous and get rid of all the chaff and make sure you have only the wheat to actually pursue. Then have some negotiation and that is happening now” – Professor Jeya Henry, director of the Functional Food Centre at Oxford Brookes University descrbes the reasoning behind the high bar set by EFSA for functional foods.
“Once you know about Fairtrade, it’s kind of hard to ‘unknow’ it. Once you’ve made that step and started purchasing Fairtrade it’s a hard habit to drop” – Fairtrade Foundation executive director Harriet Lamb describes how the foundation’s sales have risen despite the downturn.
“For whatever reason the merging parties’ stance on procurement has shown less flexibility since that favourable recommendation” –South Africa’s Economic Development Department calls for the delay of Competition Commission hearings on Wal-Mart Stores’ acquisition of a 51% stake in Massmart Holdings.