Top story

Chapel Down (CDGP) has reported year-on year sales up 15% from £10.2m to £11.8m and continuing EBITDA up 29% from £750,000 to £968,000.

Chapel Down Wine sales climbed 20% from £6.8m to £8.1m and beer and cider sales, in associated company Curious Drinks, climbed 7% from £3.4m to £3.7m.

Wine gross profit rose 12% tom £2.9m to £3.2m and beer and cider gross profit, up 11% from £1.1m to £1.2m.

Frazer Thomas, chief executive, said Chapel Down was maturing to become a player with serious potential in growth markets.

“We are seeing good demand for English sparkling wines in sophisticated international markets and we enjoyed our first full year in the USA, reaching our target of 10,000 bottles of sparkling wine with ease.”

The group believed there was great potential in its brands. “They are well positioned, well managed and in attractive growth markets. We will accelerate our investment in planting new vineyards on the finest land, develop our winery and tourism infrastructure, build out our new brewery in Ashford and continue to innovate and excite the drinks business with initiatives like our gin and vodka,” he said.

John Dunsmore, chairman, said the company continued to build its most important assets – its brands – through innovative and well executed marketing, high profile sponsorships and publicity and a differentiated and creative approach to all its activities.

“The new injection of £20m combined with the further enhancement of an outstanding management team is a measure of our intent. There is much to be done,” he said.

“We will be making substantial investments over the coming years in vineyards, the brewery, commercial infrastructure, people and marketing to ensure that we are best placed for future growth and any industry consolidation.”

The business’s assets were supportive of the business: land – and high quality vined land in particular – continued to appreciate; its brand assets were more valuable than ever; and its balance sheet was “extremely strong”.

Morning update

YO! Sushi has bought Taiko Foods, a leading supplier of sushi products to the supermarket sector, as part of its plan to create a global multi-format and multi brand sushi business.

Taiko Foods, located in London, focuses on producing sushi and Asian food to go. The company, founded in 1997, was the first manufacturer of sushi for the UK supermarket industry. Today it has evolved into the most innovative manufacturer of sushi in the UK supplying Waitrose among others.

Taiko now employs 220 people in its factory in West London and supplies to selected Waitrose stores. It will continue to be led by its management team of Derek Lewis, managing director, Martin Prasad, operations director and Kar-Wai Chiu, finance director, and supply products under the Taiko brand.

With the YO! group’s international restaurant network across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Australia, the combined business is now one of the largest sushi companies outside Japan, providing an international, multi-brand, multi-format offering.

As such the group says it is well placed to continue to benefit from the increasing consumer interest in healthy Asian cuisines and quality to-go foods.

The acquisition is expected to enable the continued growth of both businesses, particularly among UK supermarkets and other food outlets. And provide greater purchasing power, knowledge transfer and process efficiencies across the YO! group.

The acquisition of Taiko comes after three years of significant change for YO!, in which Mayfair Equity Partners bought into the business, Richard Hodgson joined the business as CEO and the group doubled in size with the acquisition of Bento Sushi in Toronto. This follows a renewed focus on the brand, product, and people, including the appointment of several senior team hires.

Richard Hodgson, chief executive, of YO!, saod: “We are delighted to welcome Taiko and all their team to the YO! family. This acquisition takes YO! into the next stage of its development, and further expands its global multi-format and multi brand sushi business with extensive manufacturing operations in both the UK and North America. Taiko’s proposition and its management team’s strong track record make it the ideal partner for YO! as we look to further grow our business in the UK.”

Derek Lewis, managing director of Taiko, said: “This partnership presents Taiko with an incredible opportunity to grow its business. YO! and Taiko share a similar ethos and history, and we look forward to working with the YO! team and maximising opportunities to develop both businesses.”

Sunshine MID BV, the consortium that owns Refresco, is to partially refinance its debt with the launch of an offering of €445,000,000 of senior notes due in 2026.

The drinks bottler, together with PAI and BCI, which make up the consortium, plan to continue to capture organic growth in both the retailer brands and contract manufacturing business.

The plan is to execute the group’s “buy-and-build” strategy and strive for “continuous operational excellence”, the statement to the stock market said.

An important step in the buy-and-build strategy was taken with the acquisition of the Cott Traditional Beverage business in January.

This created the world’s largest independent bottler of retailer brands soft drinks by volume and a leading contract manufacturer of soft drinks by volume for A-brands with leadership positions across Europe and North America, providing meaningful diversification to Refresco’s customer base.

The FTSE 100 barely spluttered in early trading, more or less holding steady at 7,379.3pts.

Early rises are Devro (DVO), up 1.5% at 231.5p, Hilton Food Group (HFG), up 1.4% at 864p, Marks and Spencer Group (MKS), up 1.3% at 284.1p, McColl’s Retail Group, up 2% at 250p and Whitbread, ahead of this Wednesday’s finals, up 2.1% at 4,323p.

Shares on the wane so far include, Premier Foods, (PFD), off 2.5% at 36.8p, Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB), down 3% at 5,455pm Coca Cola HBC (CCH), slipped 0.4% to 2,485p and Diageo (DGE) fell 0.4% to 2,455p.

This week in the City

Chapel Down reports its finals this morning for the year to the end of 31 December.

A slew of first-quarter results are due form the US this week, beginning with Kimberly Clark later today and The Coca-Cola Company’s (NYSE: KO) first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Whitbread’s (WTB) finals on Wednesday will attract a lot of interest with increasing speculation about whether it will spin off its Costa Coffee chain. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) posts first-quarter results the same day and British American Tobacco (BATS), Glanbia (GLB) and Nichols (NICLS) hold their AGMs.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS), posts first-quarter figures on Wednesday, as does The Cheese Cake Factory (NASDAQ: CAKE).

Coca-Cola European Partners’ (CCE) reports interims on Thursday. The Confederation of British Industry Distributive Trades survey for April is scheduled for release on Thursday, the same day as Just Eat (JE) holds its AGM and Dunkin Brands, The Hershey Company, PepsiCo (PEP) and US tobacco firm Altria report their first-quarter numbers.

Friday sees publication of the GFK Consumer Confidence Index and Colgate Palmoplive issue Q1 numbers.