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Mon 20th Feb 2023 - Update: BrewDog enters China JV, Planet Organic appoints advisors
BrewDog enters joint venture with Budweiser China: Brewer and pub chain BrewDog is to expand further in China after forging a joint venture with US brewer Budweiser. China currently accounts for less than 1% of BrewDog’s overall sales and the deal will see the Aberdeenshire-based firm’s ramp up its operations in the world’s second biggest economy. The BBC reports its beers will be produced at Budweiser China’s Putian craft brewery, in the south-eastern province of Fujian, by the end of next month. It currently has an international network of more than 110 bars but just one in China. BrewDog Shanghai, which opened in 2020, in the Jing’An district of the city. The company said it also plans to open several bars in the country in the next three years. In a statement, BrewDog founder James Watt described the Budweiser partnership as “transformational” and said it would bring the craft brewery to “every corner of the world’s biggest beer market”. It is the company’s second tie-up in Asia following a deal with Asahi in Japan in 2021, which BrewDog said helped it double its sales in the country. The company reportedly planned to start selling shares on the London stock market in 2020 but postponed the move as the pandemic saw pubs and bars closed during lockdowns. Watt has said BrewDog has no plans to imminently revive a share sale but has hinted that one could take place by the end of this year.

Propel Premium subscribers to receive three updated databases in a week: Propel Premium subscribers are to receive three updated databases in the space of a week. The next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies will be released on Monday, 27 February, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, will feature 18 new multi-site companies, taking the total to 2,769. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. Meanwhile, the next edition of the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage will be sent to Premium subscribers next Tuesday (28 February). It is the first database where full profiles of 650 of the UK’s top food and beverage operators are available in one place. There are 46 updated entries, while 16 new companies have been added. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database on Friday, 3 March, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 5,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Planet Organic hires advisers to explore sale: Planet Organic, the organic supermarket chain, has drafted in City advisers to explore a possible sale. Sky News reports that Planet Organic, which was founded in 1995 by Renee Elliot, is working with Interpath on a review of its strategic options. A source close to the process said this weekend that the company was seeking funding to help deliver its growth plans. Planet Organic sells organic food and drink as well as healthcare and bodycare products. It trades from 13 stores, predominantly in London, and is about to open another in Teddington in the southwest of the capital. The chain has also closed a number of outlets in recent months, including one in Wandsworth. Like many retailers, its recent performance has been hampered by the pandemic and reduced city centre footfall. It is understood to have been loss-making in each of its last two financial years. Planet Organic is run by George Dymond, who took over as its chief executive just over a year ago. A spokesperson for Planet Organic said: “We are working closely with our advisors to help us navigate options to secure further investment. This additional funding will enable us to support the next phase of our current growth plans.” Last month, the business Planet was closing in on the £7m mark as its crowdfunding campaign drew to a close. The business, which is looking to reach 50 stores over the next three years, hit its crowdfunding target of £6.25m in just over 24 hours of the launch of the campaign in the middle of November. It had raised £6,848,024 from 643 investors, with a day to go. The fundraise came with a pre-money valuation of £30.2m, with 17.16% of equity offered.

Small businesses tell Jeremy Hunt, help us in budget: Britain’s biggest employers group has called on the chancellor to use next month’s budget to reverse contentious changes to investment tax incentives, address late payments and tackle the threat of “the highest tax burden since Clement Attlee and Stafford Cripps in 1948”. The Times writes the Federation of Small Businesses said Jeremy Hunt must set out a “pro-enterprise, pro education, and pro-employment agenda”, which must also make structural changes to “pernicious” business rates, the commercial property tax. In a letter to the chancellor ahead of his budget statement, which is due to be delivered on 15 March, the group made additional calls for an overhaul of childcare support and more incentives for apprenticeships and training. Martin McTague and Tina McKenzie, the federation’s national policy chair and advocacy chair respectively, warned that confidence among small businesses is at the lowest level on record outside of covid lockdowns. However, they said with signs that inflation is peaking and a more stable outlook for the public finances it was time to “look forward in earnest”. “Historically, small businesses have played a crucial role in leading economic recovery after turmoil,” they noted. They called for measures such as increasing a threshold at which small businesses start paying business rates, the commercial property tax, paid for by charging large businesses occupying the most valuable properties more. The group said the government should pause contentious changes to research and development tax reliefs, the generosity of which are due to be cut for small businesses from April. McTague and McKenzie also warned that the government’s progress on tackling slow and late payment of commercial debt had “ground to halt” since Philip Hammond stood down as chancellor in 2019. They said making large companies’ audit committees responsible for overseeing payment policies would “be a sensible solution that tackles this issue once and for all”.

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