The spotlight was on manufacturers this week as Heinz, Kerry Group and Del Monte all posted positive numbers.
Emerging markets continued to remain a focus, with Heinz attributing its results to soaring sales in developing markets. Heinz said it will continue to invest “aggressively” in emerging markets as it eyes possible M&A opportunities. The company said the division accounted for some 17% of the group’s business in the first quarter.
Kerry Group is looking to jump onto the bandwagon, and said it is taking a “harder look” at expanding in the emerging markets. Speaking on the firm’s earnings conference, chief executive Stan McCarthy told analysts that its focus is on expanding in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Pilgrim’s Pride resumed exports to Russia last week. The move marks the end of months of wrangling between US and Russian officials after the country in January banned all US chicken that had been processed with chlorinated water.
US meat producers will breath a sigh of relief as, according to Tyson COO Jim Lochner, Russia imports 5% of the US’s total chicken production.
Carrefour also announced that it was reconsidering its position in Russia. The French giant opened its first store in the country in June 2009 but announced plans to pull out of the market within four months of the move. CEO Lars Olofsson said that if it were to re-enter the market, it would be through an acquisition. Obvious candidates for Carrefour would include troubled retailer Lenta, O’Key, or Kopika, for which X5 Retail Group is currently seeking antitrust approval for its own a bid.
Meanwhile, speculation continues around the future of Carrefour’s Asian assets, with reports the retailer was to receive bids on its assets in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia by Wednesday.
Campbells posted strong earnings in what it described as a “challenging year”, with sales edging up 1%, while profit grew 14.6%. Del Monte also faced “challenges” in its first half, but remains confident that its consumer business will bounce back in the second half. Sales for the food group dropped 1.1% in the first half on the back of a 6% slide in its consumer products division.
In the UK, the government announced it has made changes to which departments have responsibility for food labelling policy. Since the coalition’s election there has been speculation about the future of the FSA, But last week’s announcement will mean that it is not abolished, but will now focus purely on the safety aspects of food labelling.