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Constellation Brands posts Q3'20 earnings beat; AB InBev may replace CFO

TOP NEWS

* Constellation Brands Inc. reported fiscal third-quarter normalized EPS of $2.14, beating the S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus mean estimate of $1.84. The brewer said it now expects EPS for fiscal 2020 to be between $9.45 and $9.55, up from its previous estimate of $9.00 to $9.20. The company's share price rose 2.8% in premarket trading.

* Anheuser-Busch InBev SA is set to replace CFO Felipe Dutra, the Financial Times (London) reported, citing people familiar with the development. The brewer reportedly is considering external and internal candidates, including Nelson Jamel, its North American unit's vice president of finance and solutions. AB InBev declined to comment, while Dutra did not respond to a request for comment, the report said.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* U.S. food retailer Albertsons Cos. Inc. reported net income of $54.8 million for the third quarter ended Nov. 30, 2019, up from $45.6 million a year ago. Net sales and other revenue grew 1.9% year over year to $14.1 billion from $13.8 billion, driven by sales growth in online grocery and private brands.

* Walmart Inc. said its new Neighborhood Market store in Miami will incorporate technologies such as online grocery pick up, same-day grocery delivery, expanded check out points and the option to skip the line using handheld devices. The store, which has a pharmacy, full-service deli and fresh produce section, will create about 100 new jobs.

* Caltex Australia Ltd. confirmed that it received an unsolicited takeover offer from British fuel station and convenience store operator EG Group Ltd. The offer challenges the A$8.66 billion takeover proposal made by Canada's Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. in November 2019.

* Asda Stores Ltd. promoted Anthony Hemmerdinger, senior vice president of operations, to COO and Mark Simpson as chief supply chain officer. The U.K. grocer named Anna-Maree Shaw as chief customer officer, effective at the end of January.

* The proposed sale of Tesco PLC's retail operations in Thailand will be kept under close scrutiny by the country's competition watchdog, the Financial Times reported, citing an interview with Sakon Varanyuwatana, chairman of Thailand's Office of Trade Competition Commission. The British grocer started a strategic review of its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia in December 2019 following "inbound interest." Tesco did not immediately respond to S&P Global Market Intelligence's request for comment.

* British food retailer J Sainsbury PLC reported that total retail sales, excluding fuel, declined 0.7% year over year in the third quarter of fiscal 2019/20. On a like-for-like basis, sales also went down 0.7%. Grocery sales increased by 0.4%, while online grocery sales were up 7.3%. The company said the consumer outlook continues to be uncertain.

* Supermarket chain Sprouts Farmers Market Inc. said it appointed Denise Paulonis as its CFO, effective Feb. 21. Paulonis most recently served at arts and crafts retailer The Michaels Cos. Inc. in the same position.

BEVERAGES

* Luckin Coffee Inc. said it is expanding into the vending machines business and launched a share placement and a convertible bond worth a combined $821.3 million to fund the expansion. The Chinese coffee chain unveiled a smart unmanned coffee machine and smart vending machine. Luckin Coffee also said it had 4,507 self-operated stores by the end of 2019, making it the largest coffee chain in the country based on the number of stores. According to the website of the Starbucks Corp.'s China unit, it operates 4,100 stores in Mainland China.

* Proposed tariffs on $2.4 billion in French imports into the U.S. will hurt the already low-margin domestic wine industry and cause thousands of job losses, wine merchants and industry advocates told a U.S. government panel.

* Australia's McWilliam's Wines Group Ltd. has appointed KPMG as voluntary administrators to seek capital or a buyer, Reuters reported, citing a KPMG statement. The winemaker reportedly said its operations would continue as normal. "A number of factors have contributed to a decline in business performance, including evolving structural market dynamics and capital constraints," McWilliams Chairman Jim Brayne said.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Agribusiness firm Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said it acquired Brazil-based Yerbalatina Phytoactives, a manufacturer of natural plant-based extracts and ingredients, for an undisclosed sum.

* Agricultural commodities trader Cargill Inc. posted adjusted operating earnings of $1.02 billion for the second fiscal quarter, marking a 19% year over year jump from $853 million. Revenue for the quarter grew 4% to $29.2 billion. The company said its protein businesses were prepared to meet the changes in demand, as well as shifts in global protein flows due to the effects of African swine fever.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Blue Apron Holdings Inc. said it appointed Elizabeth Huebner to its board Jan. 3. Huebner replaces Robert Goodman, who stepped down from the meal-kit maker's board Dec. 31, 2019.

* Impossible Foods Inc. decided to no longer pursue a supply deal with McDonald's Corp., adding that the plant-based meat manufacturer does not have the production capacity for such a large partnership, Impossible Foods CEO Pat Brown told Reuters in an interview. Shares of rival Beyond Meat Inc. rose as much as 12.5% on Jan. 7 after Reuters reported the canceled deal. When contacted by S&P Global Market Intelligence, McDonald's did not comment on the matter but pointed at its existing partnership with Beyond Meat.

* Baked-goods maker Hostess Brands Inc. has completed the acquisition of Voortman Cookies Ltd. from private equity firm Swander Pace Capital for about $320 million in cash.

* Impossible Foods plans to nearly double the size of its research and development team in the next 12 months to ramp up its development of new meatless products, CEO Pat Brown said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." The maker of meatless products has not shared any plans of going public, but Brown said it is "reasonably likely" that the company would file for IPO, the report added.

RESTAURANTS

* U.S. coffee chain Starbucks Corp. said it added an oat milk beverage to its menu and also introduce oat milk as a new nondairy option in select markets in the Midwest. The company also rolled out new beverages made with coconut and almond milk in the U.S. and Canada beginning Jan. 7.

* U.K. bakery chain Greggs PLC said total sales for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 28, 2019, were up 13.5%, compared to a 7.2% increase in 2018, with company-managed shop like-for-like sales up 9.2%. The company also said its board agreed to make a special payment to employees, costing £7 million, which will be paid by January-end. Greggs expects its full-year underlying profit before tax, after the cost of the one-off payment to employees, to be slightly higher than its previous expectations.

* Campbell Soup Co. said Carlos Abrams-Rivera will resign as executive vice president and president of Campbell Snacks, effective Feb. 1, and President and CEO Mark Clouse will lead the snacks division until a successor has been appointed.

* Chinese state-backed conglomerate CITIC Group Corp. plans to sell a 22% stake in McDonald's Corp.'s China and Hong Kong business to its private equity arm, Reuters reported. CITIC hopes to make at least 2.17 billion yuan from the sale, the report said, citing a filing to the China Beijing Equity Exchange.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* Yu Kangzhen, China's vice minister for agriculture, said the country's drive to increase pork supplies by breeding more hogs has raised the risks of worsening the swine fever crisis, Bloomberg News reported. "The risk of outbreaks will rise with the rapid increase in the number of live hogs," the vice minister reportedly said during a press conference in Beijing.

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The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng lost 0.83% to 28,087.92, and the Nikkei 225 fell 1.57% to 23,204.76.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 slid 0.02% to 7,572.52, and the Euronext 100 shed 0.04% to 1,152.67.

On the macro front

The ADP employment report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration Petroleum Status Report and the U.S. consumer credit report are due out today.

Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 8 a.m. ET. Some external links may require a subscription. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.