Mixed reactions in the City to John Allan appointment

Following the excitement of Tesco appointing John Allan as its new chairman, The Telegraph and The Financial Times (£) examine the reaction of the City and investors. Analysts questioned the decision to appoint the Barratt Developments chairman to the role rather than former Asda boss Archie Norman. Doubts have arisen as to whether Allan has the “heavyweight experience” to lead Britain’s biggest retailer (The Telegraph).

It wasn’t just analysts who had their doubts, shareholders also had a mixed reaction to the appointment, with one top-ten investor still maintaining a preference for Norman, according to the FT. Allan will meet some of Tesco’s biggest shareholders over the next few weeks to convince them that he is the right man for the job. “I look forward to engaging with shareholders and demonstrating to them that the Tesco board . . . has made the right decision,” he said (The Financial Times £).

Away from the City, The Guardian reports the concerns of Chris Elliott, a food safety expert at Belfast University, that traces of nuts in found in spices could be a bigger scandal than horsemeat. The Guardian points out that while eating horsemeat had no health implications, for anyone with a nut allergy this spice scare could have “lethal consequences”. It comes after paprika used by a catering company, and sold in UK supermarkets, was found to have undeclared traces of almond protein – at levels high enough to trigger fatal reactions (The Guardian).

A CHF4.4bn rise in profits at Nestlé to CHF14.5bn has led to the food group increasing its dividend despite sales slipping year on year. The Kit Kat maker registered growth of 4.5% in 2014 as sales fell 0.6% to CHF91.6bn compared to the year before (The Financial Times £).

A formal £4.3bn offer for London-listed can maker Rexam could be made by Ball corporation as early as today, The Financial Times (£) reports. Takeover talks emerged earlier this month when Rexam confirmed a cash-and-share offer from Ball, valuing the company at a healthy premium of 610p a share. The move would be certain to trigger scrutiny by competition authorities. Ball now has until 5 March to make a firm offer or walk away under the Takeover Panel’s ‘put-up or shut-up’ rules (The Times £).

The world’s second-largest Coca-Cola bottler has warned of deteriorating business conditions in Ukraine and Russia, its biggest market. Shares in Coca-Cola HBC, which have underperformed in the past 12 months, closed 3% lower at £11.41 after the group posted its full-year results (The Financial Times £).

A stinging series of paper in the medical journal Lancet have called for tough new controls to be introduced worldwide to stop commercial companies marketing unhealthy foods and drinks which make children overweight and stunt their growth (The Guardian).

New Pernod Ricard boss Alexandre Ricard is already “stirring things” up at the world’s second-biggest distiller with a call to big brand owners to fight back against the craft spirits industry (The Financial Times £).