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Chili's Grill & Bar suffers data breach; HelloFresh posts upbeat Q1'18 results

TOP NEWS

* Brinker International Inc. said its flagship restaurant brand, Chili's Grill & Bar, has been hit with a malware attack that could have potentially compromised payment card information of some of its customers who visited some Chili's locations between March and April. The restaurant operator said it is working with third-party forensic experts to investigate the incident and notified law enforcement agencies regarding the matter.

* Meal-kit provider HelloFresh SE raised its outlook for 2018 after it reported strong growth in its first quarter, propelling its shares up 10.8% in lunchtime trading May 14. The German company said cash flow from operating activities in the quarter ended March 31 was positive for the first time at €6.6 million, and it had €331 million in cash. First-quarter revenue jumped 44% year over year on a reported basis, or 59.8% at constant currency, to €295.6 million from €205.3 million as its number of active customers soared 61.7% to 1.88 million from 1.16 million. HelloFresh said it now expects revenue growth in 2018 between 30% to 35% at constant currency.

BEVERAGES

* Heineken NV acquired a minority stake in beer maker Belize Brewing Co. Ltd. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Belize Brewing is a unit of Bowen & Bowen Ltd., which has been an importer and distributor of Heineken brands in Belize since 2016.

* South Korea's beer industry is struggling as distributors give preference to foreign brands over indigenous ones, shaking the country's production base, Yonhap News Agency reported, citing industry observers. The shift was attributed to change in drinking patterns as well as liquor tax on locally made beer, the report added.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

* Brazil is set to become the world's largest soybean producer in 2018, beating the U.S. for the first time, Reuters reported, citing oilseeds crusher group Abiove. Based on the figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Abiove said Brazil is expected to harvest 117 million metric tons for its crop year that is just coming to an end, while the U.S. is likely to harvest 116.48 million metric tons of soybeans in 2018.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Tokyo-based food wholesaler Nishimoto Trading Co. Ltd. is set to roll out "vegan fish" called Ahimi — a tuna alternative made from tomato, soy sauce, sugar, water and sesame oil — in the U.S., Europe, Southeast Asia and Japan, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The company plans to use its 23 offices in North America and 14 offices in Europe and Asia to sell its fish-like product around the world, the Nikkei added.

RESTAURANTS

* Westlife Development, operator of McDonald's Corp.'s franchise outlets in India, made adjustments to its menu offerings in a bid to make it more palatable to health-conscious customers, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The chain operator reportedly cut sodium in its products by 20% and reduced oil content in mayonnaise by 40%. It also increased dairy fiber in its patties by 20% to 25%, the news outlet added.

* Burger King India Pvt. Ltd, a fast-food chain owned by private equity firm Everstone Capital, is mulling a potential IPO as the company plans to raise growth capital, Mint reported, citing two people familiar with the development. The investment company is having preliminary talks with a few investment bankers to take the company public, the report added, citing the sources.

INDUSTRY NEWS

* U.K.-based investment company The Craftory plans to invest $300 million of private capital into the growth and development of various consumer goods startups with annual revenues of over $10 million, the Financial Times reported. The investment company already has a list of 100 potential investments, focused mainly in Europe and the U.S., the report said.

The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was up 1.35% to 31,541.08. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.47% to 22,865.86.

In Europe, as of midday, the FTSE 100 was down 0.20% to 7,709.21 and the Euronext 100 was down 0.13% to 1,069.30.

On the macro front

No notable reports due out today.

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