Source: Getty Images

Top story

SSP Group has announced a further expansion in its geographic reach with a deal to acquire a Canadian food airport operator, and will also open further units in Saudi Arabia.

SSP has acquired Calgary-based ECG Ventures, which will see it take over the leases of three units at Calgary Airport and an additional two at Edmonton Airport.

The five new restaurant/bars – The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Bistro on the Bow, Belgian Beer Café (two units) and The Canadian Brewhouse – complement SSP’s existing business at both airports.

This is the second acquisition SSP has completed in North America in the past 12 months, following the acquisition of the Midfield Concession business, with the final airport transferring in November.

Secondly, SSP will also be further expanding its presence in Saudi Arabia, having signed a new contract with Jeddah Airport to operate three food and beverage packages, representing a total of 26 units, for an initial duration of between five and seven years.

As part of its offer, SSP will oversee the Saudi launch of Jamie Oliver Kitchen, Pizza Express and the London-based gelato specialists Snowflake and Crêpeaffaire.

It was also open Jeddah-based Social Kitchen and Social Bakery, Café Bateel, Falafel & Friends and SSP’s own travel brands including Jaipur (Indian street food), Soul + Grain, Negroni, Ritazza and Camden Food Co, among others.

Patrick Coveney, group CEO of SSP, said, “Both the acquisition of ECG in Canada and the significant contract win at Jeddah are excellent examples of our business development strategy in action.

“We are clear that a combination of investing in organic growth and carrying out selective infill M&A will create sustainable long-term value and returns, and North America and the Middle East are important areas of focus for expansion.

“We very much look forward to welcoming the ECG team to SSP and to delighting passengers at Jeddah with our carefully selected mix of brands and concepts.”

Morning update

Heineken has announced this morning it has nominated CEO Dolf van den Brink for reappointment for a further four-year term.

The drinks group will nominate van den Brink at its AGM on 25 April for a further four years in charge starting on 1 June 2024.

Van den Brink became CEO on 1 June 2020 following a 22-year career at the company.

Heineken said that under his leadership, it had embarked on the multi-year ‘EverGreen’ strategy to “future-proof the company and sustain growth in a fast-changing world”.

Despite global volatility, the company said it had delivered significant revenue and operating profit growth, successful productivity programs, digital and sustainability transformations and growth of its premium portfolio.

The company also extended its advantaged footprint with large acquisitions in Africa and India.

Jean-Marc Huët, chairman of the supervisory board, said: “We are very pleased to nominate Dolf van den Brink for a next term as member of the executive board. Under his leadership, the EverGreen strategy was successfully launched to evolve the business and to deliver superior and balanced growth, with customers and consumers at the core. Dolf has built a strong leadership team and has accelerated the growth and development of Heineken.”

A nomination for the reappointment of Huët as member and chairman of the supervisory board for a period of two years will also be submitted to the AGM 2024 for approval.

The Heineken board proposes to reappoint Huët in view of his “dedicated leadership, resulting in a strong, diverse and highly committed supervisory board and a solid relationship with the executive board”.

The supervisory board proposes to reappoint Pamela Mars-Wright and nominates Peter Wennink for appointment as a new member and vice chairman.

Wennick was appointed president and CEO of chipmaker ASML on 1 July 2013 and it has become one of the most successful and leading companies in the Netherlands.

Huët commented: “We are delighted to nominate Peter Wennink as new member of our supervisory board, supporting the company in its aim to deliver sustainable long-term value creation for its stakeholders.

“With his many years of experience and exceptional qualities, Peter will bring valuable and new perspectives to the supervisory board.”

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has jumped 2.1% to 7,704.8pts this morning after the US Federal Reserve signalled it would cut interest rates in 2024.

Risers include Ocado, up 7.2% to 690.2p, SSP Group, up 5.6% to 238.8p and THG, up 4.8% to 86p.

The few fallers include Associated British Foods, down 0.5% to 2,429p and Bakkavor, down 0.2% to 83p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 edged up 0.1% yesterday to 7,548.4pts.

Fallers included B&M European Value Retail, down 6.3% to 562.8p after a management share sale.

Also down were Deliveroo, down 5.3% to 131.1p, Nichols, down 2.7% to 1,065p, Glanbia, down 2.5% to €15.60, SSP Group, down 2.1% to 226.2p and Pets at Home, down 2% to 300.4p.

The day’s risers included PZ Cussons, up 3.7% to 146.2p, Naked Wines, up 2.4% to 42p, McBride, up 2.4% to 87p, Hilton Food Group, up 2.2% to 747p, Compass Group, up 1.6% to 2,108p and Fever-Tree, up 1.1% to 1,056p.