US: Diamond Foods’ acquisition of Pringles will be delayed by an internal probe into its accounting for payments to walnut growers. The purchase of the business from Procter & Gamble was due to close in December but is now expected to be completed in the first half of 2012. Diamond said the probe was prompted by “an external communication”. Both RBC and BofA Merrill Lynch downgraded Diamond on the news.
Germany: Metro Group has cut its profit forecast for the full year after sales in the third quarter dropped 2%. The German retail group lowered its pre-tax profits forecast from 10% to 5% as it reported sales of €15.9bn. Analysts had been bracing themselves for a lower outlook, so “expected market reaction to be limited,” said Nomura analyst Nicolas Champ.
United Arab Emirates: Spar has made its first move into the Middle East by opening a 22,000 sq ft supermarket in the Khalidiya district of Abu Dhabi. Spar will open one more store in UAE this year and the target is to have nine stores in the country by the end of 2013. “By 2015 we plan to have a significant presence, not only in the UAE, but also across a number of Gulf states,” said MD Dr Gordon Campbell.
Canada: Own-label soft drinks manufacturer Cott Corporation has doubled its profits in the third quarter. Cott’s quarterly net profits rose from $6m to $16m as sales grew 26% to $611.3m, beating expectations. “We experienced a solid increase in volume and revenue,” said Cott’s CEO Jerry Fowden - but he added that high commodity prices had ensured margins were “lower than we would have wished”.
Mozambique: SABMiller has brewed the first commercial beer from the cassava root. Impala, which sells for 70% of the price of mainstream lager, marks the latest step in SABMiller’s plans to create a portfolio of affordable beers from local raw materials in Africa. SABMiller built a mini mobile factory to process cassava before it goes off - overcoming the problem of rapid deterioration that had prevented cassava beer making the transition from popular home brew to commercial product.