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Wed 19th Apr 2017 - Update: Heineken, Vianet and Neil Moffitt
Heineken reports reduction in UK volumes in First Quarter: Heineken has reported UK volume was down by a low single digit amount in its First Quarter due to a partial de-listing by a large customer. Premium volumes continued to grow by double digits. Consolidated beer volume was up 0.6% organically, with growth in Asia Pacific and Europe offsetting slightly lower volume in Americas and Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. The first quarter is seasonally less significant in terms of both volume and profit to full year Heineken results. Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board and chief executive, said: “Performance in the first quarter was in line with expectations, delivering volume growth against strong comparatives last year. Asia Pacific continued to outperform and volume in Europe was solid. In Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe market conditions remain challenging, adversely impacting volume. In Americas, whilst Mexican volume was good this was more than offset by weaker volume in Brazil. Our full year expectations remain unchanged.” Heineken volume grew organically by 2.5% in the first quarter. Key markets contributing to this growth included South Africa, Brazil, the US and Italy, which more than offset weaker volume in Vietnam due to the earlier Tet timing (Vietnamese New Year). In Europe, organic consolidated beer volume growth of 0.5% reflected continued improved consumer confidence across most of the region, slightly offset by a tougher winter in some markets of Central and Eastern Europe and later timing of Easter. In France, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, and Austria volume development was positive. Volumes declined mid single digit in Poland following reduced promotional activity.

Vianet reports it expects profits to be in line with forecasts: Vianet Group, the provider of actionable data and business insight through devices connected to its Internet of Things platform, has provided a trading update ahead of the group’s preliminary results for the year ended 31 March 2017, which are expected to be released on Tuesday, 6 June 2017. Trading for the second half of the year has continued to improve as anticipated and, as a result, the group’s full year profits will be broadly in line with market expectations and ahead of last year’s outturn of £3.02 million from continuing operations. James Dickson, chairman, said: “The group expects to again deliver year-on-year profit growth. Importantly, there has been overall progress across the core businesses where focus on our exciting medium to long term prospects, particularly for telemetry and payment solutions for the coffee vending market is gaining momentum.” 

Neil Moffitt – ‘the merger of Hakkasan Group and SBE has nothing to do with my decision to step down’: Hakkasan chief executive Neil Moffitt has reported the impending merger of the company with hotel company SBE has nothing to do with his decision to step down. He told Vegas Seven: “I’m a big proponent of the merger. I’m very proud that we’re putting these two companies together. If this is the last thing that I do for this company, it will be my greatest achievement. Hakkasan has 60 venues across four continents with another 30 to welcome before 2020. SBE is a company with 25 hotels and 27 new hotels either under construction or in design. But it’s time for someone else; it’s time for a new group of people to take this company to the next level. They’re going to design hotel rooms, gyms, spas, restaurants, daylife, nightlife. We wanted to do Hakkasan hotels; we were very close to doing it, but it’s a whole different infrastructure. If you take what [SBE’s] got and what we’ve got and put it together, the sky’s the limit. The people who are going to head up that company have the passion and the determination to finish what they start. It’s everything a hospitality company wants in the world. The new merged entity is a legacy piece, and I’m very proud of it. And importantly, I’m very proud of the people I’ve worked with.” He said the decision to leave is based on a desire to spend more time with his family. “The last eight months have been extremely difficult for me. Last year was a big turning point. My dad called me up and said, ‘I’ve [got] 30 days to live, son.’ I was in the back garden of a villa in Saint-Tropez. I am the guy from project housing in Coventry. I would love to tell you I was born with a billion dollars. We’re a very humble family. And there I am in my big fancy villa thinking I’m a big shot. It was literally like I got whacked over the head with a hammer. I raced home and, typical me: I can fix it. I can find someone, I can do it, and we can do this. Let’s not give up. We got him on a [drug] trial – I called [in] all the favours in the world. But he still lasted [just] 30 days. The day I found out my father died was the day I found out that my wife was pregnant. I really thought long and hard about what the future held for me.” He added: “I want to make sure I’ve worked as hard on my relationship with (my three children) and being a good dad as I did at building my business – that’s all that’s really left for me. I have no business goals, I have no monetary goals. I have one goal left in my life, and that is to be remembered as the best father.”

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