AB InBev’s buyout of SABMiller drove bumper M&A levels in 2015

Mergers and acquisitions among the world’s 50 largest consumer companies fell sharply last year, as political uncertainty depressed dealmaking in a sector that has come to rely on M&A as one of its most important avenues for growth. Picking up this year’s OC&C/Grocer Global 50 report, the FT notes that the value of deals fell to $50bn in 2016 after the bumper $226bn in 2015, three-quarters of which was driven by two big takeovers amounting to $175bn. (The Financial Times £)

Two of the world’s largest consumer goods companies warned on Thursday their revenues had been hit by last month’s global cyber attack, the first sign the malware had a larger financial impact on multinationals than previously disclosed (The Financial Times £).

The financial fallout from one of the world’s biggest cyberattacks began to emerge yesterday when Reckitt Benckiser was forced to cut its growth forecasts and warned that a number of its factories were still hindered more than a week after the virus hit (The Times £). The maker of Dettol and Cillit Bang said the computer virus, which encrypts important documents and then demanded a ransom, had disrupted its “ability to manufacture and distribute products to customers in multiple markets” (The Telegraph). Nurofen maker Reckitt Benckiser warns of £100million revenue hit after global cyber attack disrupts its factories (The Daily Mail). Twelve days after completing the biggest takeover in its history — the $18bn acquisition of baby milk group Mead Johnson — Reckitt Benckiser found itself with a far bigger problem than how to integrate the IT systems of the US company with its own (The Financial Times £).

Shares in Associated British Foods climbed to the top of the FTSE 100 after the Primark owner boosted its outlook for the year with improving profit margins at the discount fashion retailer (The Telegraph). There may be pain on the British high street but the tills are still ringing at Primark, where strong third-quarter trading has led to a “marginally” better outlook for the year (The Times £). Better than expected third-quarter trading at the Primark retail chain cheered investors who pushed shares in its owner Associated British Foods up by more than 6% on Thursday (The Financial Times £). Primark’s sales soar as shoppers snap up low-cost summer fashions. The retailer’s inexpensive take on latest trends triggers bumper sales of embroidered tops, ripped jeans – and inflatable flamingos (The Guardian).

The Times’ Tempus column writes: “he extraordinary success of the budget Primark clothing chain has often diverted attention from the other brands of Associated British Foods, which include staples such as Ovaltine and Twinings, as well as agriculture and food ingredients and the huge operation including British Sugar. This is a shame because, in many ways, that rest is rather more interesting.” (The Times £)

Horsemeat was unknowingly sold by supermarkets across the UK after a gang of three men secretly mixed it with beef and then falsified documents, a court has heard. Andronicos Sideras, 55, is alleged to have mixed horsemeat with beef and then forged paperwork to sell it on as “100 per cent beef” to manufacturers who made products for well-known retailers including Tesco, Co-op and Asda. (The Telegraph)

The owner of Bulmers and Magners has warned it expects its full-year profits to be hit amid weakening demand for cider. Drinks group C&C – which also owns Blackthorn, Addlestones and Ye Olde English brands – said its cider sales were subdued in Ireland and flat across Britain as shipping volumes fell slightly behind target. (The Daily Mail)

Chocolate maker Cadbury is expanding production at its Bournville factory following a £75m investment from its owner Mondelez International. The factory will now produce Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Oreo and Dairy Milk Tiffin chocolate bars. (The Daily Mail)

Hot weather last month helped Britain’s beleaguered retailers enjoy their best June sales growth in six years, new figures show (Sky News). The high street enjoyed its best June in six years as shoppers splashed out on fashion items amid the warm summer weather (The Times £).

Real household disposable incomes in the UK are falling at their steepest rate since 2011, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said (The BBC). Household finances are facing their tightest squeeze in more than five years as inflation pushes up the cost of living (The Times £).

Peter Plumb has been appointed as chief executive of Just Eat, bringing an end to a year of management upheaval at the fast-growing food ordering website (The Financial Times £). nline takeaway business Just Eat is hoping to draw a line under recent upheaval at the top by hiring Peter Plumb (The Telegraph). He steps into the shoes of David Buttress, who resigned in February “due to urgent family matters” and later took up a role with 83North, the venture capital firm (The Times £).

Amazon gears up for assault on India’s grocery sector, writes the FT. Online retailer aims to tap the rapid shift to digital shopping in $428bn market. (The Financial Times £)