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M&A and joint ventures

Editor's viewpoint: Glanbia has stamina

18 March 2014 | Dean Best

The 2013 results posted by Irish food group Glanbia stood out, both for the growth the company achieved last year and its optimism for its prospects this year and beyond. ... read more

Comment: Chobani wise to consider stake sale

13 March 2014 | Katy Askew

Chobani is the leading US manufacturer in the lucrative, high-growth Greek yoghurt sector. But with rising competition from the larger dairy majors - and Chobani's own growth aspirations globally - the company could well be wise to consider ways to secure a cash injection, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: Challenges ahead as ConAgra goes on to the front foot

20 February 2014 | Dean Best

After two profit warnings in five months, ConAgra Foods boss Gary Rodkin was correct to use the CAGNY conference this week to front up about the problems at the US food group - and to try to demonstrate the company can rectify them. Some of these challenges are likely to only be short term. However, ConAgra may face more work with its consumer foods and integration of Ralcorp.... read more

Editor's viewpoint: Nestle's L'Oreal decision is worth it

11 February 2014 | Dean Best

After a period of flagging sales, Nestle investors may have been hoping the food giant would offload its stake in L'Oreal to fund a programme of share buybacks. In fact, the company has decided to only trim its L'Oreal stake and, in the process, gain full control of a skin health venture between the two sides - a move that underlines Nestle's wise longer-term strategy to target health and wellness in its broadest sense.... read more

In the spotlight: Hain Celestial must be wary of over-extending

7 February 2014 | Katy Askew

Hain Celestial has rapidly grown its business by expanding into new categories and markets through a series of acquisitions, notably in the UK. However, such rapid expansion has its challenges. Perhaps execution issues at Hain Daniels, the US group's UK-focused business, could be viewed as a warning to management that the group should be careful not to over-extend itself, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: United Biscuits sale unlikely in the near-term

4 February 2014 | Katy Askew

Much media attention has focused on whether the private-equity owners of United Biscuits are preparing to sell off the UK biscuit maker. However, Katy Askew suggests, a sale is unlikely to be on the agenda in the near term.... read more

Best bits: Tilda set to bolster Hain's UK stable

21 January 2014 | Dean Best

Hain Celestial, the US food group, has pounced yet again in the UK. The US group has made a flurry of deals in the UK in recent years but has faced challenges with some of its purchases. Tilda could be a more positive experience.... read more

Comment: Hershey makes serious move in China

2 January 2014 | Dean Best

The final full week before Christmas saw another notable international move from Hershey, with the US confectionery giant underlining the seriousness of its ambitions in China.... read more

Comment: Investment boosts reputations of Tesco and New Delhi

23 December 2013 | Dean Best

It is, for both sides, an investment that can help improve their reputations. Tesco's plan to run multi-brand retail outlets in India demonstrates to the market the UK retailer, for all its problems, still has plans for growth. India's government will be happy that, 15 months after it pushed through plans to allow overseas players to invest in multi-brand retailers, someone has finally taken the bait.... read more

Best bits: Kellogg may have to be more radical

16 December 2013 | Dean Best

The first significant impacts of Kellogg's plan to free up resources to boost its faltering business in mature markets (and invest in emerging economies) were revealed last week. However, the US food group may have to make bolder moves to shore up its long-term growth prospects.... read more

Comment: Burton's set to accelerate growth with Ontario Teachers' backing

19 November 2013 | Katy Askew

Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, the Canadian pension fund, has taken majority ownership of Burton's Biscuit Co., ending months of speculation over who would walk away with the UK firm. The news provides clarity over the likely direction Burton's will take - confirming a focus on power brands and international expansion, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: All eyes on Saputo as Bega shows hand on WCB

14 November 2013 | Dean Best

Two of the bidders for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory have this week made fresh offers for the Australian dairy. The focus now moves to the third suitor - Canadian dairy giant Saputo, which has long coveted an entry into the market and is eyeing the business as a way into Asia.... read more

Best bits: Nestle, Kellogg latest to reappraise businesses

11 November 2013 | Dean Best

Food giants Nestle and Kellogg have become the latest companies to make structural changes to their businesses. Nestle has sold the bulk of its Jenny Craig assets and more disposals could follow, while Kellogg is to cut jobs and plough the savings into boosting growth.... read more

Best bits: Home, overseas factors drive Bega bid for WCB

23 September 2013 | Dean Best

Competition among processors for milk supply in Australia, price pressure from retailers and Bega Cheese's desire for greater scale to compete internationally are the key reasons for its move for local peer Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory.... read more

Comment: Tesco's US misadventure has apt final chapter

11 September 2013 | Dean Best

After six years of losses, there will be a sense of relief that Tesco has secured a deal to exit the US. However, the agreement with Yucaipa provides a suitable closing chapter for the failed foray.... read more

Best bits: FMCG must adapt to slower BRICs growth

2 September 2013 | Dean Best

"The Great Deceleration" warned a front cover of The Economist in July, as the magazine reflected on a cooling in the BRIC markets. FMCG companies are upbeat about the long-term prospects of these economies but will have to adapt as period of slower growth.... read more

Comment: European sale shows Campbell focus on faster growth

13 August 2013 | Dean Best

Campbell's talks to offload a clutch of European assets fits its recent strategy of focusing on more rapidly growing sectors and markets, writes Dean Best.... read more

Best bits: Tesco's face-saving plan for Chinese business

12 August 2013 | Dean Best

Nine years ago, Tesco first entered China and high hopes for its business there. After losses and falling sales, it is set to become a minority partner in a venture with China Resources Enterprise, evidence, Dean Best writes, of the UK retailer's failure in the market.... read more

Comment: Tesco, China Resources JV part of growing trend

9 August 2013 | Katy Askew

Confirmation that Tesco is in joint venture talks with China Resources Enterprise highlights a mounting trend in the FMCG sector. International companies eyeing growth in the rapidly expanding Chinese market are seeking out local joint venture partners. If Tesco's negotiations with CRE prove successful, a stronger business will emerge, Katy Askew suggests... read more

Comment: Wheels within wheels: PepsiCo, Mondelez and Peltz

23 July 2013 | Katy Askew

"Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel. Never ending or beginning, on an ever spinning wheel." It is not often you get to quote Dusty Springfield lyrics as a business journalist. But this song plays through my head each time I think about the Peltz-PepsiCo-Mondelez rumours that are causing so much excitement.... read more

Best bits: Asia drives more Europe dairy consolidation

5 July 2013 | Dean Best

The prospect of tapping growing demand for dairy in markets in Asia has driven another deal in Europe's dairy sector - this time a merger between two French processors, Sodiaal and 3A.... read more

Best bits: Nestle China boss espouses benefits of thinking local

17 June 2013 | Dean Best

To succeed in emerging markets, you have to think - and act - locally. That was the central message from just-food's interview with the boss of Nestle's business in Greater China, Roland Decorvet.... read more

Best bits: Smithfield, McCormick keep China in the spotlight

3 June 2013 | Dean Best

Investment is flowing into and from the world's emerging markets, as two transactions involving US firms Smithfield Foods and McCormick & Co. highlighted last week.... read more

Best bits: Danone steps up investment in future growth

20 May 2013 | Dean Best

In recent months, Danone has come under scrutiny for the performance of its fresh dairy operations in Europe. However, in spite of - or perhaps because of - the work needed to turn that business around, the French food giant appears to be stepping up expansion in faster-growing markets and categories.... read more

Best bits: Ella's Kitchen is Hain's most promising UK buy

10 May 2013 | Dean Best

US manufacturer Hain Celestial has struck again across the pond. And its latest acquisition in the UK seems to be the one with most potential, writes Dean Best.... read more

Comment: US firm Boulder eyes slice of UK gluten-free pie

3 May 2013 | Katy Askew

US health and wellness firm Boulder Brands has acquired a small UK-based gluten-free company, Davies Bakery. The US gluten-free specialist has ambitions to expand the UK business well beyond Davies' current scale. However, Katy Askew suggests, Boulder is likely to come up against stiff competition in the increasingly crowded space of the UK gluten-free sector.... read more

Best bits: Unilever likely to stick with spreads

1 May 2013 | Dean Best

What will Unilever do with its spreads business? After that part of the company's portfolio was a factor in first-quarter sales that missed analyst expectations, the question has returned to the minds of some in the investment community. Dean Best thinks they will stick with the division.... read more

Comment: Unilever's strength in non-food could offer long-term boost to food

30 April 2013 | Katy Askew

The divide between Unilever's high-growth home and personal care business and its food operations has attracted reams of copy. Unilever's stronger performance in emerging markets in non-food has prompted much speculation that the group could, at some point, split the businesses in two as it expands in developing economies. However, Unilever has repeatedly rebuffed such conjecture - and for good reason.... read more

Comment: Sovereign, pension funds to vie for M&A with trade, PE

19 April 2013 | Dean Best

Could sovereign wealth funds and pension funds become more active participants in deal-making in the FMCG industry? Perhaps so, writes Dean Best. ... read more

Comment: Emmi maintains focus on international with Swiss buy

10 April 2013 | Katy Askew

Emmi announced yesterday (9 April) it has acquired Swiss speciality cheese maker Käserei Studer. While the majority of Käserei Studer's sales are generated domestically, the move should nevertheless be viewed in the context of Emmi's drive to expand internationally, Katy Askew suggests.... read more

Comment: Premium Brands hits mark with Freybe buy

26 March 2013 | Katy Askew

Canada's Premium Brands Holdings has entered into an agreement to buy local family-owned deli meats marker Freybe Gourmet Foods. With potential synergies and cross-selling opportunities, the deal looks set to have a positive impact on Premium Brands' earnings. Katy Askew reports.... read more

Comment: The logic behind a PepsiCo/Mondelez tie-up

22 March 2013 | Katy Askew

Could activist investor Nelson Peltz be at it again? Hot off the heels of one mega-deal in the food industry, the move to take Heinz into private hands, rumours are abound that Peltz is building up a stake in Mondelez International and PepsiCo with a view to merging the companies into a snack food Goliath.... read more

Comment: Wise Aryzta boosts European retail business - at last

21 February 2013 | Dean Best

It's been a while coming but Switzerland-based bakery giant Aryzta has moved to boost its business with Europe's retailers - as consumers increasingly turn away from artisan bakers and to supermarkets for their bread and croissants.... read more

Comment: Organic growth priority for prudent Ahold

13 February 2013 | Dean Best

Ahold's exit from its ICA retail venture in Scandinavia and the Baltics looks set to net the Dutch company a cool US$3.4bn - but do not expect the Albert Heijn and Giant Food owner to go on an acquisition spree.... read more

COMMENT: Supervalu CEO, business cull still leaves key challenges

10 January 2013 | Michelle Russell & Chris Mercer

The news that Supervalu has agreed to sell five of its supermarket chains, including Albertsons, in a deal worth US$3.3bn will come as little surprise to those in the industry. The rest of Supervalu is set to follow suit, but key challenges will remain for whoever holds the reins.... read more