The main story in the weekend papers was The Sunday Telegraph article that beleaguered cigarette supply giant Palmer & Harvey has sent out an SOS cash call. The supplier has stepped up attempts to find new backers amid a looming deadline to repay tens of millions of pounds to some of the world’s biggest tobacco manufacturers, the paper writes. P&H is understood to need around £50m of fresh funds by the end of September. Advisers at PwC have begun a formal process to court new backers as the deadline approaches, The Times says in a follow-up this morning.
The Telegraph also reports on cash worries at northern supermarket chain Booths. The family behind Booths could be forced to pump more money into the business to retain control over the company, the paper says. Senior lenders Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC have instructed Grant Thornton to undertake a review of the business.
The Times writes this morning that Brexit uncertainty is leaving rioja makers over a barrel. In 2016, 47 million bottles of rioja were exported to Britain, making it the most important market for the 190 Spanish wine companies which sell in the UK.
In the world of post-Brexit trade deals, whisky could be the new chlorinated chicken, The Sunday Times says. A US government list of “unfair” European Union trade barriers, running to 492 pages, includes a complaint about the bloc’s definition of whisky as a spirit aged for at least three years. American “whiskey” requires only 12 months in the barrel.
Big tobacco companies have been manipulating the prices of cigarettes for more than a decade to undermine government attempts to deter people from smoking, research suggests (The Observer). A study published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research found premium brands subsidise the cheaper products to keep the habit affordable.
The Observer has a manifesto for saving Britain’s food supply and keeping food on the table. “Brexit imperils the health of a nation whose food supply was already under threat from climate change and shifting global markets. Here, the Observer’s restaurant critic outlines how we might avert disaster.”
The Observer asks is Poundland’s cut-price confectionery the answer to shrinkflation?