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Weekly Round Up, June 10, 2014

Published on Jun 9 2014 2:45 PM

Weekly Round Up, June 10, 2014

Michael Patten has been appointed the new Global Corporate Affairs Director at Glanbia plc. Patten joins from Diageo, where he served as Global Public Affairs Director, overseeing tax, international trade and market access affairs. Prior to this, Patten served as Corporate Relations Director for the drinks multinational, and he has also worked for Glanbia previously as Director of Communications. The primary responsibilities of his new position include leading the company's global public policy and its sustainability agenda. Patten will also join the group's management committee. The appointment is effective from 1 September 2014.

Health Minister James Reilly will seek Cabinet approval today for his proposals to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products. The Minister said that he sees the legislation as necessary to 'remove the last billboard' for tobacco advertising, and limit access by young smokers to tobacco products. However, a study published last week has found that cigarette sales in Australia have increased since the introduction of plain packaging there. Research produced by industry monitor InfoView, and obtained by The Australian newspaper has revealed that Australians purchased 59 million more cigarettes and roll-your-own equivalents in the year following the introduction of plain packaging. 

Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland is said to be investing €1 million into marketing its new lunch and dinner range, 'All Day Fresh', at Centra. The range, which is expected to deliver €14 million in sales in its first year, will be accompanied by an extensive out-of-home advertising campaign, utilising radio, TV, and digital services such as the music streaming app, Spotify. Ray Kelly, marketing director, told the Sunday Business Post, “What we're trying to do, overall is to establish Centra in the market as the place to go for quality, fresh food. […] Traditionally, the industry has seen the supermarket on one side and the convenience store on the other, but there's certainly a blurring now.” He added that the Centra own-brand range launched last year was experiencing double digit growth.

Dunnes Stores has been ordered to pay over €82,000 by the High Court to a worker who slipped on a frozen potato chip and injured her knee. Dorota Michalowska was pushing a trolley of dishes in Dunnes Stores in Clonmel when she slipped. She said in evidence that her knee immediately began to swell and that she noticed three or four frozen chips on the floor. The injury left Ms Michalowska unable to work for 35 weeks. Ms Justice Irvine said that determining who was responsible for the chips was the issue; if it was a member of staff other than Ms Michalowska, then the employer would be responsible their negligence. Ms Justice Irvine said she found Ms Michalowska to be honest and reliable, concluding that “the balance of probabilities is that somebody other than Ms Michalowska dropped the chips.”

Cuisine de France owner Aryzta has reported a 16.5% rise in quarterly revenues to €1.37 billion in the three months to April. Recent acquisitions and strong growth in Europe saw food revenues at the company rise to €859.8 million during the period. According to a trading update, European food revenues increased by 17.6% to €387.5 million. “Underlying revenue in the food business increased by 3.7% in the quarter compared with the same period last year. Overall food revenue increased by 14.9% despite adverse currency movements,” said chief executive Owen Killian. Aryzta operates a number of bakery brands, including Cuisine de France and Hiestand. Earlier this year, Aryzta agreed to acquire 100% of both Pineridge Bakery in Canada and Cloverhill Bakery in the US. The combined total of these acquisitions was €730 million, “with further post-acquisition investments of €70 million anticipated to support a strong growth pipeline and integration”, the group said.

Banana brands Fyffes and Chiquita are one step closer to completing their planned $1 billion merger. The proposal cleared a major regulatory hurdle in the US last Monday, when the waiting period for the US antitrust review of the deal expired. The deal is still subject to other regulatory clearances, but if passed, will create a new entity called ChiquitaFyffes. This will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange but domiciled in Ireland. ChiquitaFyffes will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people around the world.

Fifteen new jobs will be created with the opening of a new distillery in the Co Down village of Kircubbin. Echlinville Distillery will be the first to be licensed in Northern Ireland by HM Customs and Excise in over 130 years and plans to invest £1.5 million to develop premium Irish whiskey for markets outside Northern Ireland. Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company more than £216,000 in financial support of the project. Echlinville’s managing director, Shane Braniff, founded the distillery two years ago on his 18-acre Echlinville Estate. He said his decision to establish the new distillery was influenced by the growth in demand for Irish whiskey in the US. “In addition to the existing FECKiN’ whiskey brands, we have recently relaunched Dunville VR Irish Whiskey, once one of the best known brands until the closure of the distillery in Belfast that produced the spirit over 80 years ago."

Unfair practices in the food supply chain must be tackled on a mandatory basis, Mairead McGuinness, Fine Gael MEP for Midlands North West has said. “The voluntary code of conduct at EU level agreed between stakeholders in the supply chain is insufficient to deal with the issue. It is too little and too late,” she said. “The new Commission needs to bring forward legislation to provide for a sustainable food supply chain, one that acknowledges the need for a fair return to producers and to everyone involved in the chain. Every EU country has concerns about the food supply chain and several have taken action at a national level but a coordinated European response is what is needed." She added that below-cost selling is "is unsustainable and it will ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers."

Kilkenny County Council has promised job creation with the announcement of an ambitious €33 million plan to transform the former Smithwick’s site in the city centre. The council has also said it is in separate discussions with six other prospective firms, in the hope that it will generate a further 500 jobs. Plans include a research centre for Waterford and Carlow IT, a new park and 180,000 square feet of new office facilities, including the refurbishment of the former brew house. “The proposal to establish on the Smithwick's site a major international services company with some 500 jobs is very advanced (though not finalised), with real prospects of a further 500 jobs,” County Manager Joe Crockett, told councillors.

The post office network is slowly deteriorating and the government needs to listen to rural Ireland and take steps to prevent this, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Communications, Michael Moynihan TD. Moynihan was reacting to reports last week that franchises like Spar and Mace are discussing with An Post the possibility of establishing ‘Post and Pay’ outlets throughout the country. “The message was loud and clear; stop dismantling rural Ireland. It seems this appeal has fallen on deaf ears. Travelling throughout the country before the recent local elections, it was clear that people in rural Ireland are extremely angry at decisions taken by the Government that have decimated the very fabric of rural society. […] An Post has been in discussions for several months with supermarkets and now shops with a view to allowing them provide ‘Post and Pay’ outlets. If these negotiations come to fruition then it could well sound the death knell for the Post Office network."

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones

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