Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, has reported a 64% increase in full-year net profits, boosted by savings from its SABMiller acquisition and a rebound in Brazil, one of its biggest markets (The Financial Times £). Health-conscious millennials knocking back low-calorie beer Bud Light boosts brewer AB Inbev (The Daily Mail).
However, amidst AB InBev’s the booming sales, The FT’s Lex column warns that not everyone is “convinced by brewer’s elixir for sustainable organic growth”. It writes: “Costs are like fingernails: they always have to be cut. That mantra — attributed to one of the hard-driving shareholders of brewing giant AB InBev — goes to the heart of a debate in the consumer goods industry… A turnround in the US is needed to convince diehard sceptics”. (The Financial Times £)
Shares in Carrefour dropped more than 8% on Thursday morning after the French retailer issued a set of annual results that illustrated the scale of the challenge facing its new chief executive, Alexandre Bompard. (The Financial Times £)
Big tobacco stocks spluttered after French bank BNP Paribas, whose investment arm has more than €500 million of assets under management, finally concluded that owning tobacco stocks might not be a good thing. (The Times £).
The Environment Secretary Michael Gove risks reigniting a row over his approach to Whitehall impartiality by lining up a group of close allies to join the board of his department. (Sky News)
A McCain promotion in which fewer than 1% of the prizes available were won has been criticised as “cynical”. McCain Foods’ Great Village Raffle claimed to offer prizes worth £3m including cars and VIP experiences on the set of ITV soap Emmerdale. However, just 160 of the 28,815 prizes were won, with no cars and just four VIP experiences awarded. (The BBC)
Are Carpetright and Mothercare the next chains on the brink, asks The Daily Mail? Fears are growing for the future of Mothercare and Carpetright as their stocks plummeted following the collapse of Toys R Us and Maplin.
Casual dining may be in the doldrums yet while the likes of Jamie’s Italian, Byron and Prezzo undergo painful restructurings and closures, Wagamama is bucking the trend. (The Times £)
The owner of Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia will ramp up its off high-street presence as it seeks expansion in transport hubs and overseas markets. (The Telegraph)
The UK games market defied the consumer spending squeeze to hit a record £5bn last year, industry figures show. (The BBC)
“Yes, bacon really is killing us” is a rather alarmist headline in The Guardian. Decades’ worth of research proves that chemicals used to make bacon do cause cancer, it claims, so how did the meat industry convince us it was safe? (The Guardian)
Borrowing on credit cards in the UK increased by almost 10 per cent in January — the second highest annual rise since 2005, according to data from the Bank of England. (The Financial Times £)