A delay in the regulatory approval process in Africa threatens AB InBev’s merger with SABMiller, writes The Times.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s hopes of completing its £71bn takeover of SABMiller in the second half of this year are under threat amid suggestions that securing South African regulatory approval could take at least 18 months. The merger of the world’s two biggest brewers would not create competition issues in South Africa. However, a leading analyst said yesterday that the country’s regulatory bodies may delay approval pending agreement on issues including employment, social and economic welfare and black empowerment. (The Times £)

Meanwhile, another American private equity firm has developed a taste for Peroni and Grolsch. It has emerged that US buyout firm KKR has joined the bidding war for the beer brands, but Bain Capital has walked away. (The Daily Mail)

Growth in household spending power is slowing as a result of weak wage growth and a slight rise in inflation, according to Asda. Average weekly household disposable income was £194 last month, an increase after inflation and taxes of £13 over the year. However, the 7.2 per cent growth rate was the weakest in 14 months. (The Times £)

UK retailers are counting the cost of returns of online orders. Unwanted parcels add £60bn a year squeeze on stores as they cater to changing consumer patterns. (The Financial Times £)

Scotch whisky producers are calling for a further tax cut on the drink, arguing the levy on the average bottle of Scotch is an unsustainable 76%. The Scotch Whisky Association wants the Government to reduce the tax by 2% in this year’s Budget. Last year, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled a surprise 2% reduction from 78% – the first cut in spirits duty for almost 20 years. (The Telegraph)

The Telegraph has a comment piece hailing the GCA’s charges against Tesco (released on Tuesday) as “a victory for small businesses”. The paper writes: “Hurray for the little man! The decision of the supermarket ombudsman to censure Tesco for its treatment of suppliers has been hailed as a rare victory for small businesses in their fight against the bullying practices of giant corporates.” (The Telegraph)

Robinsons squash-maker Britvic saw sales slip in Europe and Britain, but a better than expected Christmas boosted its share price (The Daily Mail). But Britvic suffered a 4.7% decline in revenues at the end of last year as it continued to falter in the European market. (The Telegraph)