India hit the industry headlines again this week after the country’s government decided to suspend its plans to allow more foreign investment into the local retail sector. Meanwhile, here in the UK, Premier Foods plc, the country’s largest food maker, continued its restructuring with the sale of its Brookes Avana division, while Kraft Foods announced plans to revamp its UK manufacturing network leading to a loss of 200 jobs at its Cadbury arm.
“The decision to permit 51% FDI in retail trade is suspended until a consensus is developed through consultation among various stakeholders” – Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said planned retail reform, which faced fierce opposition, was not going to be forced through.
“This is an excellent strategic fit and, following completion, we will focus on delivering growth opportunities and enhancing the performance of the business” – 2 Sisters Food Group CEO Ranjit Singh said insists Premier Foods’ problematic own-label unit Brookes Avana will complement his current business.
“We understand that these jobs will be lost through natural wastages, with no compulsory redundancies. Our view is that if Kraft is investing GBP44m for the expansion of its UK factories there should be no job losses” – Unite national officer Jennie Formby expresses concerns for workers after Kraft Foods’ shake-up of its manufacturing network in the UK.
“If this business combination was to go ahead, it would be carried out with reference to share price levels that exclude any impact resulting from the rumours seen in the press” – French retailer Guyenne et Gascogne confirmed talks over a possible deal with Carrefour were underway.
“We are still demanding a 5% salary increase as wages at the Harnes plant are higher than for workers at Matougues” – McCain Foods has succeeded in getting one striking French plant to end industrial action but staff at the facility in the town of Harnes are continuing their walk-out over pay.
“In a moment so important for the markets, characterised by profound and rapid changes, and faced with the important challenges that lie ahead, we felt the need to ensure Barilla has cohesive leadership with a vision and strategic management to ensure continuity and development” – a joint statement statement released by Guido, Luca and Paolo Barilla, the owners of pasta giant Barilla, suggests a clash over strategy lay behind the depature of the depature of MD Massimo Potenza.
“After just nine weeks, if we can get a performance that neutralises the deflation with volumes up, that’s pretty good” – Tesco CFO Laurie McIlwee defended the results of the retailer’s Big Price Drop promotional campaign despite the retailer reporting another quarter of falling UK sales.
“This is the beginning of a process and the teams involved will work hard to understand the business and consider in detail how best to take the customer contracts forward” – Leendert den Hollander, chief executive of Young’s Seafood talking about its purchase of UK company Cumbrian Seafood.
“A unilateral ban could not be introduced because it would represent a hinderance on free trade rules in Europe and would be legally very difficult to implement” – the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) explains why the Government could not ban eggs from Europe amid concerns that suppliers on the continent are unable to comply with new rules outlawing caged eggs.