Latest News

28 May

Newlat inks deal to buy Princes from Mitsubishi


Italy-based Newlat Food has struck a deal to acquire UK food-and-drinks company Princes from Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp. 

Newlat Food is buying the canned foods and ambient drinks maker in a cash-and-shares deal worth £700m ($893.6m). 

The enlarged business, to be called New Princes Group, will be a company generating revenue of around €2.8bn ($3bn) and adjusted EBITDA of €190m. 

The new entity intends to achieve an annual turnover of €5bn by 2030. It also expects to boost profits “through a combination of cost and structural synergies”, Princes said. 

New Princes Group will have “a global operating network” of 31 factories, doing business across “ten distinct categories”. 

Princes’ portfolio includes brands such as Branston baked beans and Napolina tomato products. 

Newlat operates in the dairy, pasta, bakery, ready meals and snacks sectors. 

“The newly combined group will offer a broad range of high-quality products, addressing the needs of an increasingly demanding and diverse global market,” Newlat Food chairman Angelo Mastrolia said. 

23 May

Mondelez fined in Europe for historical anti-trust breaches

Mondelez International has been fined €338m ($366.5m) in in the EU for “hindering cross-border trade” in breach of competition regulations. 

A probe by the European Commission dating back to 2021 found the Oreo and Cadbury maker’s infringement related to the trade of chocolates, biscuits and coffee products between EU member states. 

Violations across various regulatory codes stretch as far back as 2006 and forward to 2020. Mondelez acknowledged it had reached a “settlement” but noted the EC decision “relates to historical, isolated incidents, most of which ceased or were remedied well in advance of the Commission’s investigation”. 

The EC concluded the US-headquartered confectionery and snacks giant had broken the bloc’s competition rules by “engaging in anti-competitive agreements or concerted practices aimed at restricting cross-border trade”. 

Brussels said Mondelez had also been “abusing its dominant position in certain national markets for the sale of chocolate tablets”. 

31 May

FDA to restructure US food oversight in wake of infant-formula crisis

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has revealed details of the restructure of its food division in the wake of the 2022 infant-formula crisis. 

The agency said the planned new structure will allow it to be “more efficient, nimble and prepared for the ever-changing and complex industries” it regulates. The changes will come into force on 1 October. 

The FDA was criticised for its slow response to the infant-formula crisis two years ago, which was sparked by a recall by Abbott Laboratories due to the suspected presence of salmonella at the baby-food maker’s plant in Sturgis, Michigan. 

Shortages ensued as the company shut down the site, prompting government measures that included allowing more overseas manufacturers access to the restricted US market. 

A new Human Foods Program (HFP) will take over the roles of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and the Office of Food Policy and Response, along with key functions from the Office of Regulatory Affairs, which will be renamed the Office of Inspections and Investigations. 

19 April

Unilever dials down sustainability targets for more “focused” green strategy

Unilever has dialled down some of its sustainability targets in order to become more focused on “allocating resources”. 

The FMCG giant will concentrate on four “sustainability issues” encompassing the climate, nature, plastics and livelihoods. 

The key changes revolve around targets for cutting the use of virgin plastics, making packaging recyclable or reusable, support for SMEs and promoting the living wage in the supply chain. 

For example, after previously pledging to cut the use of virgin plastics by 50% by 2025, Unilever has now downgraded that goal, aiming for a 30% reduction by 2026 and 40% by 2028. 

“Our updated commitments are very stretching but they are also intentionally and, unashamedly, realistic,” Unilever CEO Hein Schumacher said.

“We want to set sustainability ambitions which are credible, which we believe we can deliver against and which have real positive impact.” 

22 March

T&L Sugars, Tereos deal referred to second stage of CMA probe

The UK Competition and Markets Authority is referring T&L Sugars’ proposed acquisition of Tereos‘ UK assets to the second “phase” of its investigation. 

Following the first phase, the anti-trust body found the deal showed risks of inflated sugar prices for UK consumers and “a substantial lessening of competition”. 

Tereos’ UK and Ireland unit packs and distributes Whitworths’ branded and private-label sugar in Normanton, West Yorkshire. 

T&L Sugars, owned by ASR Group International, manufactures a portfolio of sugar and sweetener products under the Tate and Lyle name as well as own-label goods at its London HQ. It sells to UK supermarkets, grocery wholesalers and foodservice. 

Both T&L Sugars and Tereos face competition from one other UK business, British Sugar, and the acquisition would only make the market more “concentrated”, the CMA said. 

It must finish the investigation's second phase by 5 September.