United States: Coca-Cola has poured cold water on speculation it could be lining up a takeover of energy drinks producer Monster. Rumours of a possible deal helped drive up Monster’s share price by more than a quarter (28%) earlier this week to an all-time high, although the price fell back as Coca-Cola denied a deal was imminent and Monster refused to comment. The California-based group - whose energy drinks are distributed in the US by Coca-Cola - grew sales by 35% last year to $286m (£176.5m).
Thailand: Tesco Lotus is to launch an online store later this year. It will be Tesco’s first online store in South East Asia. “My priority is to innovate to provide a better shopping experience and a wider product range for customers,” said Tesco Lotus CEO John Christie. “We will also enhance the quality of our fresh food products.”
United States: PepsiCo has launched the first global campaign for Pepsi called Live For Now. The campaign, which will encourage consumers to live each moment to the fullest through various ‘pop-culture platforms’, breaks in the US next week and will be rolled out across the world throughout 2012. “Live For Now is the central governing idea for the brand globally,” said president of global enjoyment brands at PepsiCo Brad Jakeman.
Australia: Wesfarmers boss Richard Goydor has backed a cut in interest rates. In what was seen as a surprise move, the Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the country’s cash rate by 50 basis points to 3.75% on Monday. The decrease was welcomed by Goydor, who said the decrease would boost consumer confidence. “There’s a distinct lack of confidence here,” he said. “A rate cut would be good in terms of getting positive consumer sentiment.”
Greece: Carrefour-Marinopoulos has reportedly been investigated for dodging VAT payments in Greece. According to local reports, the Greek financial crime squad SDOE is preparing to charge the company after it found a company called Orbicom had issued fake invoices to Carrefour-Marinopoulos in 2007 and 2008 for the supply of goods that never took place. Carrefour-Marinopoulos has denied any wrongdoing.
Canada: First-quarter profits at Maple Leaf Foods have plummeted from $10.5m to $800,000. The meat packer and baker blamed weak fresh bakery sales, an issue that president and CEO Michael McCain said was affecting the whole industry. “We are addressing this directly and expect improved results through the rest of 2012,” he said. Sales for the three months to 31 March rose 1% to $1.16bn.