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Fri 25th Oct 2019 - Update: Marston’s disposal, AB InBev Third Quarter and Nando’s
The Times – Fortress frontrunner in buying Marston’s package: The Times has reported that The New York-based investment company that acquired Majestic Wine in August wants to invest in the pub sector. The newspaper stated: “Fortress Investment Group, part of Softbank, the Japanese technology investor, is understood to be the frontrunner to acquire a package of about 150 leased and tenanted pubs from Marston’s for an estimated £45 million. Marston’s put the bottom-end pubs up for sale through Christie & Co as part of a debt reduction strategy. In January it outlined a plan to cut its £1.4 billion of net debt by £200 million by 2023, partly through ‘disposal of £80-£90 million of certain non-core assets’.” The Times reported that Fortress has held discussions with pub operator Red Oak Taverns over the latter operating the estate.

AB InBev report sales up Third Quarter, UK has strong Third Quarter: Anheuser-Busch InBev has reported revenue grew by 2.7% in its Third Quarter, with revenue per hl growth of 3.0% as healthy growth from ongoing premiumisation and revenue management initiatives was partially offset by advances in the company’s smart affordability strategy. The company added: “Total volumes decreased by 0.5% in Quarter Three 2019, with own beer volumes down 0.9% and non-beer volumes up 4.0%. Solid growth from markets such as Mexico, South Africa and Colombia was more than offset by declines in China and the US, both primarily driven by shipment phasing impacts.” Of European performance, the company stated: “Within EMEA, Europe grew volumes by low single digits on top of a difficult comparable as we cycled the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and we estimate we gained market share in the majority of our markets in the quarter. Revenue declined by just over 1%, driven largely by adverse brand mix as we expand our portfolio into new points on the price spectrum. Ebitda declined as a result of the phasing of sales and marketing investments following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, new brand launches and higher CoS per hl driven by the timing of commodity hedges. The UK continues to deliver volume-led revenue growth fueled by continued double-digit growth of Corona and Budweiser.” Paula Lindenberg, president, Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, stated: “Our UK business has had a strong third quarter, building on a solid performance year to date. We continued to deliver volume-led revenue growth, fueled by our global brands and Corona and Budweiser both growing by double digits. Corona has had a great summer, recently launching in draught format. This followed a successful trial across a number of venues, where it was one of the top-three selling draught beers, with its distinctive lime ritual adding a premium feel and refreshment to the serve. Budweiser has been boosted by its sponsorship of the Premier League, which involved an unmissable launch campaign across TV, out of home and social, as well as nationwide consumer competitions and further partnerships with Sky Sports and MatchPint. Stella Artois, meanwhile, is continuing to grow both volume and value in the on-trade ahead of the industry average year-to-date. More widely for our UK business, we are proud that we have been able to invest £6.3m in green technology in our breweries, allowing us to remove 850 tonnes of plastic from the market each year and eliminate plastic rings across our entire portfolio of canned beers by the end of 2020. As we move towards brewing our biggest beer brands with 100% locally-sourced barley and 100% renewable electricity from solar power, consumers will soon be able to choose a more sustainable beer when they shop or visit their local pub.”

Nando’s removes ‘racist artwork’ at new Birmingham site: A new Nando’s restaurant in Birmingham has apologised to customers the day after it opened – after receiving several complaints about ‘racist’ artwork adorning its walls. The branch, at the One Stop Shopping Centre in Perry Barr, opened on Wednesday but was immediately met with several complaints about artwork hanging next to the men’s toilets. The painting, created for the restaurant by South African artist Khaya Sineyile, shows four black people in a toaster. The artists’ work takes issue with the ‘far reaching effects of social equality in South Africa’. But, after several complaints to the restaurant, it was taken down. A Nando’s spokesman said it had removed the painting following the complaints. He said: “As a proudly South African brand we are the biggest collectors of Southern African art in the world and every Nando’s restaurant displays original artworks from artists based in our homeland. Often these works depict scenes from South Africa’s history or comment on the current social situations there. In this instance artist, Khaya Sineyile, from the New Crossroads township in Nyanga, Cape Town, takes issue with the far-reaching effects of social inequality in South Africa. Using common household objects in juxtaposition with his subjects Khaya aims to create discussion around issues often ignored. We understand art is subjective and without context the work could be misinterpreted, we have apologised for any offence this artwork might have caused.”

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