kingsmill soft white bread

ABF’s finance director warned of the “real possibility of food shortages”

Associated British Foods, the conglomerate behind Primark and one of the world’s biggest food producers, has issued a dire warning about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit (Telegraph £). The FTSE 100 giant believes the failure of Theresa May to strike a deal with Brussels over the UK’s divorce from the EU will lead to food supply chains being “severely disrupted”, its finance chief John Bason said. The finance director, warned that a no-deal conclusion to talks would result in “severe disruption and terrible consequences” with a “real possibility of food shortages” (The Times £).A key sales metric at discount clothing chain Primark declined more than analysts were expecting in the latest trading period, although profits picked up, allowing owner Associated British Foods to maintain its annual targets (Financial Times £). ABF, which also produces sugar and owns brands such as Ryvita, said it expects growth across all of its businesses, except for sugar, which saw a dip in sales (Daily Mail).

Warren Buffett has for the first time said that Berkshire Hathaway overpaid for Kraft’s merger with Heinz, in a rare admission of failure by the investor with the midas touch (Financial Times £). The acknowledgment came days after his investment group took a multibillion-dollar writedown on its stake in the struggling US consumer goods group. “We overpaid for Kraft,” Mr Buffett said in an interview on CNBC, adding that he was “wrong in a couple of ways on Kraft Heinz”.

The boss of Finsbury Food said he was hoping to cash in on “exciting” new consumer interests, such as the rise of veganism, after the cake maker’s profits remained flat in the face of rising ingredients costs (Telegraph £).

JAB Holdings, the investment company that has been on a $50bn acquisition spree across the consumer sector, announced its first acquisition in the pet care market with a bid for US vet clinics, taking it into turf now dominated by Nestlé and Mars (Financial Times £).

“It’s double trouble for City grandee David Tyler, chairman of Hammerson and Sainsbury’s,” writes Ruth Sunderland for the Daily Mail. He has also had an eventful year at shopping centre owner Hammerson, including an abandoned bid for rival Intu.

US technology giant Amazon says it will create more than 1,000 apprenticeships in the UK over the next two years (Sky News). The company said the apprenticeship pay-scale will range from an entry level starting salary of between £9.50 and £10.50 an hour, up to £30,000 a year.

“Tech will make changing food habits easier to swallow,” writes Dominic Blakemore for The Telegraph (£).

Tiny particles of carbon could be used to speed up the process of genetically modifying plants, scientists have said — after they used the technique to make a salad glow green (The Times £).

Company directors could be disqualified for serious breaches of consumer laws and boards could be overhauled by the Competition and Markets Authority under far-reaching proposals to broaden its powers (The Times £).

A shopping centre put up for auction with a reserve price of £1 will be revamped by its new owner, which wants to keep it as a retail destination (The Times £).

“Supermarket Income Reit could be a prime candidate for anyone topping up a self-invested pension before the tax year ends, but it’s not just SIPP investors who should consider its appeal,” recommends Philip Whiterow in the Daily Mail. “Set up two years ago to take advantage of the consistently steady performance of grocery retail, the trust specialises in copper-bottomed supermarket assets.”

“Amanda Thomson ditched arts journalism to launch a company making prosecco that even her mother would drink,” writes James Hurley for The Times (£). “Thomson & Scott, her start-up, makes champagne, prosecco and sparkling wine with reduced or zero added sugar. Founded in 2013, it is approaching annual sales of £1 million, has stockists such as Ocado, Amazon and Harvey Nichols.