HEADLINES THIS WEEK:
– METRO SELLS MAKRO UK STAKE
– EUROPE LEADS THE WAY FOR BIDVEST
– JJ FOODSERVICE UPDATES OWN-LABEL PACKS
METRO SELLS MAKRO UK STAKE
Metro, the German wholesale and retail group that retained a 9% share in Booker when it sold Makro UK two years ago to the UK cash & carry/wholesaler for £140 million, has disposed of its minority stake in Booker. At a price of 125p per share, the placing raised around £196 million for the Dusseldorf-based concern.
A statement issued on behalf of Metro – which is making more space available in some of its global C&C operations for delivered business – said that it would ‘continue its strategic partnership with Booker’.
Meanwhile, Booker is progressing with plans to restyle its existing C&Cs and those operating as Makro to combine the best aspects of each of the chains.
It is currently changing the look and composition of three Makro outlets in London: Enfield, Charlton and Park Royal (Cash & Carry Management: June). Two unspecified sites are also in the early stages of alteration, while others are in the pipeline.
The initial three depots to undergo the changes were in Belfast, Sheffield and Preston.
Tel: Booker Group (01933) 371000.
EUROPE LEADS THE WAY FOR BIDVEST
A sharp increase in trading profit from Bidvest’s global foodservice operations – up by 28% – was headed by a 40.4% leap by the European division, with the UK business making a sizeable contribution, notably from the fresh foods side.
Worldwide foodservice sales increased by 23.6% to R102.26 billion (£5.77 billion). Chief executive of Johannesburg-based parent company Bidvest Group Brian Joffé reported that total foodservice business achieved trading profit of R3.19 billion (£180 million) compared with R2.49 billion (£140 million).
The European foodservice division contributed sales of R62.19 billion (£3.51 billion) – up 29.1% – and trading surplus of R1.31 billion (£70 million), as opposed to R936.24 million (£52.8 million).
Asia Pacific had sales of R33.46 billion (£1.9 billion) compared with R28.63 billion (£1.6 billion), with profit up by 23.8% to R1.5 billion (£80 million) and the South African company contributed sales ahead by 11.5% to R6.61 billion (£370 million) and profit 9% more at R370.99 million (£20.9 millon).
Joffé said that all foodservice regions had delivered “real growth in home currencies”. He added that Bidvest 3663 “performed ahead of expectations”, achieving strong profits growth, while case volumes for Bidvest Logistics reached record levels.
During the year, as reported by Cash & Carry Management, majority stakes were acquired in several businesses, including PCL, a dairy and salad distribution concern in Hatfield, Herts; Italian chilled food distributor Gruppo DAC; and Brazilian food wholesaler Avelino.
Outside of the UK, said Joffé, there were signs of recovery across several markets, with strong improvement in the Czech and Polish foodservice operations.
Tel: Bidvest 3663 (0370) 3663 000.
JJ UPDATES OWN-LABEL PACKS
JJ Food Service has redesigned the labels on its own-brand range to comply with new allergen regulations.
Chief product officer Ali Guvemli said: “Caterers will need to make sure they are working with suppliers and wholesalers that are legally compliant.
“We’ve responded by evaluating all our suppliers to make sure that they are ready for the change. Some of them have been slow to respond, so we’ve stopped working with them altogether.”
Just over one-third of the foodservice specialist’s £185 million sales come from own-label lines, which now also highlight accreditations like Free Range, GMO-Free and Red Tractor. All JJ customers are being given a leaflet explaining the information.
The new UK allergen labelling regulations come into force in December.
Tel: JJ Food Service (0843) 309 0991.