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April 23, 2012

Editor’s choice: the highlights on just-food this week

Tesco's plan to win back UK consumers understandably grabbed the headlines this week but there was plenty to analyse elsewhere. Nestle featured in the latest M&A speculation, with rumours that a deal to buy Pfizer's baby food unit was near and talk that it could sell its ice cream business in Australia. The food giant also kicked off the run of results announcements for the first quarter and joined Danone in outlining the challenges of operating in weak developed markets. Click on the headlines for more.

By Dean Best

Tesco’s plan to win back UK consumers understandably grabbed the headlines this week but there was plenty to analyse elsewhere. Nestle featured in the latest M&A speculation, with rumours that a deal to buy Pfizer’s baby food unit was near and talk that it could sell its ice cream business in Australia. The food giant also kicked off the run of results announcements for the first quarter and joined Danone in outlining the challenges of operating in weak developed markets. Click on the headlines for more.

Concerns persist as Tesco tackles UK problemsThe retail giant has revealed plans to invest GBP1bn in the UK to revitalise its domestic business after a year of falling profits. However, CEO Philip Clarke has had to defend claims that the programme might not be enough.

Comment: Could Pfizer be playing hardball over baby food?Anticipation is mounting over the likely sale of Pfizer’s baby food business, with an announcement widely expected next week.

AUS: Nestle quiet on “ice cream sale”Nestle has remained tight-lipped over reports that the company is preparing to sell its Australian ice cream business.

On the money: Nestle counts on North America innovationNestle said today (20 April) it hopes innovation in North America in the second half of the year will add some “dynamism” to the market after underlying sales in the Americas region fell in the first quarter of 2012.

UK: Dairy Crest to close two dairies, 400 jobs lostDairy Crest plans to close two dairies in a bid to reduce costs and sustain profitability at its liquid milk business, putting more than 400 jobs at risk.

On the money: Danone downbeat on dairy in EuropeDanone has warned analysts the performance of its dairy division in parts of Europe will continue to be weak for the rest of the year amid challenging conditions on the continent.

ARGENTINA: Kraft starts local Milka productionKraft Foods has started to produce its Milka chocolate brand in Argentina to replace imports of the product into the country from Brazil.

Talking tech: Morrisons ‘Evolve’ IT projectMorrisons’ focus on producing its own food through its vertically integrated manufacturing businesses has provided the supermarket with some challenges as it has overhauled its IT infrastructure, finance director Richard Pennycook tells just-food. Glynn Davis looks at the solutions that the retailer has found.

In the spotlight: Indian Adelie takeover adds spice to M&A debateThe rise of the emerging markets of the East has led some M&A watchers to believe companies in markets like India and China could be more regular buyers of businesses in the West.

Talking shop: Wal-Mart focuses on better international returnsWal-Mart Stores is focused on improving returns from the international markets in which it is present over entering new countries. That was the message from Doug McMillon, CEO of the retailer’s operations outside the US, as he met analysts in Canada last week.

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