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Casino shares plunge after profit warning; Big C eyes Tesco's Asia assets


* Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA's stock slumped as much as 13% during trading hours in Paris on Jan. 17 after the food retailer slashed its fiscal 2019 trading profit outlook for its core market France, excluding real estate, to 5% growth from the previous forecast of 10% growth. During the fourth quarter, total sales in France dropped 4.3% to €4.16 billion, while worldwide sales decreased 1.4% from the year-ago period to €9.23 billion. Full-year worldwide sales grew 0.9% to €34.65 billion, with same-store sales up 2.2%.

* Thailand-based Big C Supercenter Public Co. Ltd. confirmed that it is interested in acquiring Tesco PLC's Asian business, The Bangkok Post reported, citing Aswin Techajareonvikul, CEO of the hypermarket chain. "We believe that if we add Tesco to our portfolio, it will help extend our retail business," Techajareonvikul reportedly said. Big C Supercenter will be bidding alongside other Thai conglomerates Charoen Pokphand Group Co. Ltd. and The Central Group for the British grocer's Asian assets.


* Food distributor Sysco Corp. launched its plant-based meatless burger patties under the Sysco Simply label across the U.S. The brand's label also includes a ground meatless option, which uses the plant-based meatless product as an ingredient in various dishes.

* British grocer Asda Stores Ltd. said it would introduce refill stations in its Leeds store to cut down on plastics use, beginning May. Under the trial, customers will be able to fill their own containers with Asda's own-label coffee, rice and pasta, as well as branded cereals and tea.

* Seven & i Holdings Co. Ltd. U.S. unit 7-Eleven Inc. agreed to an all-stock acquisition of Brown-Thompson General Partnership's convenience store business and real estate assets of 7-Eleven LLC in Oklahoma to expand its footprint in the state. The transaction, to be completed in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, is expected to contribute to Seven & i's profits over the medium to long term.

* U.K.'s Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC said its Group Retail Director Gary Mills will be leaving the company to pursue other interests. David Lepley was named Mills' replacement, while Andy Atkinson was appointed group commercial director.


* Paul Bateson, COFCO Corp.'s head of grains, left the Chinese state-owned agricommodities trader, Reuters reported, citing market sources. A COFCO spokesman reportedly declined to comment, while Bateson did not immediately respond.


* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Jan. 14, a total of 2,668 vaping-related lung injury cases have been reported from all 50 states plus Puerto Rico; the U.S. Virgin Islands; and Washington, D.C. The CDC also confirmed 60 deaths in 27 states and Washington, D.C.

* California-based marijuana delivery startup Eaze is struggling to keep afloat and raising new funds to support its business model, TechCrunch reported, citing sources. The company is preparing for a round of layoffs, after cutting 30 jobs in 2019, the report added. An Eaze representative reportedly confirmed that the company was cash-strapped but declined to comment on personnel issues.


* Nestlé SA announced that it would launch soy-based sausages under its Garden Gourmet vegan brand in 11 European markets in March and pea protein-based Sweet Earth sausages in the U.S. in April.

* Brazilian meatpacker Minerva SA is again abandoning its plan to list its Chilean unit Athena Foods SA amid financial and economic uncertainties in Argentina, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

* Britain's Premier Foods PLC said its fiscal 2020 third-quarter sales grew 2.6% year over year to £262.2 million, driven by a 10% sales growth in its Mr. Kipling cake brand. The company also maintained its full-year profit outlook. Separately, CEO Alex Whitehouse said the company is developing a vegan version of its OXO beef stock cubes, Reuters reported.

* U.K.-based food products supplier Cranswick PLC raised its fiscal 2019 outlook for adjusted profit before tax to be higher than the current market forecasts, driven by a "robust" first half.


* Starbucks Corp. plans to open 100 new stores in underserved rural and urban communities across the U.S. by 2025. The company added that store locations would be determined based on factors such as high youth unemployment, low median household income and population stability.

* McDonald's Corp. Korea said it will increase prices of eight items on its menu, including Big Mac, by 1.36%, due to rising costs, The Korea Herald reported, citing a company official.


* Pork output in China slumped to a 16-year low due to rampant spread of African swine fever, Reuters reported, citing data from the country's National Bureau of Statistics. China reportedly produced 42.55 million tonnes of pork in 2019, down 21.3% from 2018.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.60% to 29,056.42, and the Nikkei 225 rose 0.45% to 24,041.26.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.92% to 7,679.82, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.76% to 1,168.04.

On the macro front

The housing starts report, the industrial production report, the consumer sentiment report, the JOLTS report and the Baker-Hughes Rig Count 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.

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