Tesco is a step closer to entering the Turkish market, according to the Financial Times. Founding shareholders at Turkish hypermarket group Kipa have voted to sell a stake in their business to Tesco. In August 2002 Tesco announced it had signed an exclusivity deal with Kipa to form a partnership.

The Financial Times said fruit distributor Fyffes benefited from a weaker dollar which reduced the prices paid for bananas. Fyffes announced pre-tax profits were up to 63.1m euros in 2002, from 57.7m euros in 2001. The FT added that the EU agreement to raise the quota for bananas from former European colonies may also benefit Fyffes.

Wal-Mart is still the favourite to win Safeway with the withdrawal of KKR, reported The Times. Wal-Mart is priced at 13-8, Philip Green 5-2, Tesco 4-1, a joint Morrisons/Sainsbury bid 6-1, Morrisons 6-1, Sainsbury 12-1, Farmers Co-op 500-1.

Nestle underscored its position as one of the world’s great defensive stocks in uncertain times by increasing its 2002 net profits by 13% to SF7.56bn and raising its dividend by 9.4%, reported the Financial Times.

Shares in Ahold surged more than 26% yesterday after it said an investigation t its Argentine business found nothing that would hurt earnings, according to The Times.

Potential bidder for Safeway Philip Green has entered the ranks of the super rich when he appeared in Forbes’ billionaires list for the first time, reported the Daily Telegraph. Green’s personal fortune is valued at $1.4bn (£890m).