German business morale rose more than expected in December, as the outlook for Europe’s largest economy improved – despite the energy crisis and high inflation – a survey showed on Monday. The Ifo institute noted that its business climate index rose to 88.6 from a revised reading of 86.4 in November and compared with a forecast of 87.4 in a Reuters poll of analysts. Indicators measuring how companies assess their current situation, as well as their expectations, also showed bigger-than-expected rises. The current conditions indicator rose to 94.4 from a revised 93.2 in November, following six consecutive decreases and beating the Reuters poll forecast of 93.5. The expectations index rose to 83.2 from 80.2 the previous month – above the 82.0 predicted by the poll. German businesses are entering the holiday season with a sense of hope, said Ifo President Clemens Fuest.
South African retailer Woolworths noted that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Australian upmarket department chain, David Jones, to private-equity fund Anchorage Capital Partners. Woolworths paid a big premium to bulk up in Australia via David Jones, as part of former chief executive Ian Moir’s ambitions to turn Woolworths into a leading Southern Hemisphere retailer, but overhauling the business was taking longer than expected, forcing the retailer to keep writing down the value of the unit, reports Reuters. Moir’s successor, Roy Bagattini, has been on a mission to improve the performance of David Jones by restructuring its debt, selling off property, and closing underperforming stores. “The strategic rationale at the time of the acquisition did not materialise to the extent originally envisaged,” Bagattini said in a statement.
Swiss food company Hero Group has announced that investment firm S-Ventures has acquired its UK-based gluten-free business, Juvela. The transaction includes the Juvela bakery in Pontypool, Wales. S-Ventures is a UK-based company that invests in and develops brands across natural, wellness and food-tech categories, reports ESMmagazine.com. Rob Versloot, CEO, Hero Group, commented, “We are very pleased to have found an ideal home, where Juvela can grow to its full potential alongside other similar companies. The divestment is part of our company’s long-term strategy and supports the Hero group’s focus on its core categories of baby and toddler food and snacks, healthy snacks, and natural spreads, to provide consumers with goodness-of-nature products.”