Shares in Foster's, Australia's largest brewer and wine producer, jumped 9% this week amid rumours of takeover bids by rivals InBev and SABMiller. The move came as Foster's unveiled a 27% rise in annual net profits and announced it expected annual earnings growth to continue following its acquisition of rival wine group Southcorp. Foster's has denied all speculation regarding an approach.
Aldi has unveiled plans to build a 1,500 sq ft upmarket pilot store in Geneva, on the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois. The retailer has been in talks with members of the public and local businesses over plans for the store, which will be made from light prairie stone and a darker red, double-face brick. A parapet of prairie stone will run across the top, while the entrance will be adorned with a 30ft bell tower. But, in spite of the store's upmarket feel, Aldi promised it would still boast its trademark low prices.
SHV Makro has put its Malaysian cash and carry operation up for sale. No reason has been given for the decision, but SHV said it was reached after a strategic review of its portfolio. SHV Makro holds a 65% stake in Makro Malaysia, which has eight stores nationwide, with the rest held by Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) (20.7%) and PKNS-LFD (14.3%). Preliminary work to prepare the sale of its stake has begun. Makro has been in Malaysia since the opening of its first store in 1993. Makro Malaysia MD Pieter Boone said the sale was an opportunity for new shareholders to take over a well-managed business that offered strategically-located stores, experienced staff, proven operating systems and a loyal customer base.
Coop has reported a 0.6% increase in sales to CHF14.1 billion (£6.04bn) for the most recent financial year. Real sales growth stood at 2.6%, but prices of the retailer's products in stores fell by an average of 2%. During the year 800 price cuts in stores equated to CHF280m (£120m) in savings for shoppers. Prices are set to fall again this year, according to chief executive Hansueli Loosli.
Wal-Mart has allowed workers at its Shenyang store in north-east China to set up a Communist Party. Local reports suggest the party was established last month and would allow "employees at the Wal-Mart store to have access to Chinese Communist Party membership". Last month Wal-Mart let workers form a trade union in China.
Brewer SABMiller's Columbian subsidary, Bavaria, is investing US$175m (£91.8m) in a new brewery in Yumbo, western Columbia, in a bid to keep pace with growing demand in the region. The brewery is expected to be operational by late 2007 and will have an initial capacity of 350 million litres, increasing to 450 million litres by 2009. Karl Lippert, president of Bavaria, said: "A new brewery is a great opportunity to take steps forward in production techniques, quality, ergonomics and environmental care."