Coles to proceed with sale
TOORONGA, AUSTRALIA: Coles Group has said that it will pursue a full sale or break-up of the company. The announcement was made as the retailer revealed a 3.5% rise in profits for the six months to 28 January. Coles said it would consider selling the entire group, or individual bids for its subsidiary companies. If it proceeds, the sale of Coles would be the largest corporate deal in Australian history.
GSK embarrassed on Ribena claim
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: GlaxoSmithKline has been fined NZ$227,500 (£83,333) for making misleading claims over vitamin C levels in Ribena. GSK had claimed that Ribena syrup contained four times more vitamin C than oranges, but in 2004 two high school students carried out tests in a science lesson and found levels of the nutrient in the product were much lower. The findings came to the attention of the NZ consumer watchdog, the Commerce Commission, which took GSK to court. The company pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching the country's fair trading laws, and blamed testing methods and "incorrect labelling" for the confusion.
Giants drive ready-to-drink tea
SWITZERLAND/US: Nestlé and The Coca-Cola Company are to focus on ready-to-drink tea in their Beverage Partners Worldwide 50-50 joint venture. BPW will now cover the ready-to-drink tea category worldwide, except in the US and Japan. Nestlé has licensed its Nestea and Enviga brands to The Coca-Cola Company in the US and to BPW for the rest of the world. Both companies will be free to develop or acquire tea brands to compete on the US and Japanese markets, while BPW will be able to do the same in the rest of the world. Coffee will no longer be part of BPW's business and Nescafé ready-to-drink coffee will be returned to Nestlé.
Reliance Fresh stores for Bangalore
NEW DELHI, INDIA: Reliance Retail is expanding its operations in southern India with the opening of 11 Reliance Fresh stores in Bangalore. The company said more stores would be opened in the city in the near future. It was also looking at opening Reliance Fresh stores in the cities of Mysore, Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum and Mangalore later this year.
Lactalis buys dairy giant Dukat
ZAGREB, CROATIA: France's Lactalis has purchased 91.49% of Dukat, Croatia's largest dairy company. Lactalis, which paid €278m for the stake, is expected to offer to buy the remaining shares. The deal is believed to be the second-biggest ever in Croatia. Only US-based Barr Pharmaceuticals' acquisition of Croatian drug manufacturer Pliva late last year was larger.
SCA and Godrej in hygiene alliance
MUMBAI, INDIA: Hygiene product manufacturers SCA and Godrej Consumer Products are to form a joint venture for the manufacturing and marketing of absorbent hygiene products in India, Nepal and Bhutan. The companies will be equal partners in the venture, Godrej SCA Hygiene. SCA recently acquired P&G's entire European tissue operations.