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Nestlé to ban noncompliant palm oil suppliers; Casino may sell more assets

TOP NEWS

* Nestlé SA plans to blacklist palm oil suppliers that do not follow its responsible sourcing guidelines aimed at preventing deforestation, the Financial Times of London reported, citing Benjamin Ware, the Swiss food giant's global head of responsible sourcing. Starting March 2019, Nestlé will put out a complete list of companies in its supply chain that specifies whether or not they are in compliance with its sourcing rules, according to the report. Noncompliant suppliers will be removed, which Ware told the newspaper was a move likely to "make a lot of enemies."

* Supermarket operator Casino Guichard-Perrachon SA could divest 20 of its loss-making Geant hypermarkets in France or turn them into franchises instead of closing the stores, Reuters reported, citing a company spokesman. The food retailer, which recently agreed to sell 55 of its Monoprix real estate assets for €565 million, may also convert the outlets into smaller stores or sell them to a rival retailer, the report added.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* British grocer Tesco PLC is set to remove "best before" dates from 116 more items in its fruit and vegetable range to help reduce food waste, The Guardian reported. The retailer previously removed "best before" dates from about 70 fruit and vegetable lines, and the move reportedly is supported by research done for Tesco that found 69% of consumers favored scrapping the dates.

* Portuguese food retailer Sonae MC SGPS SA will offer 217,360,000 ordinary shares in an IPO on Euronext Lisbon. Sonae MC's holding company Sonae SGPS SA said the shares are being offered by unit Sonaecenter Serviços SA to retail and institutional investors. Sonae added that 23% of the shares will be offered through a public offering to retail investors in Portugal, while the remaining 77% will be offered via a private placement reserved for institutional investors in and outside Portugal. The price range for the IPO is between €1.40 and €1.65, targeting proceeds between €304 million and €359 million, and the shares are expected to start trading on Euronext Lisbon under the ticker symbol SONMC on Oct. 23.

RESTAURANTS

* Philippine fast-food company Jollibee Foods Corp. plans to open 25 restaurants in the U.K. within five years and is mulling further acquisitions in the U.S. and China, the Financial Times reported, citing Jollibee CEO Ernesto Tanmantiong. The company, which in March launched its first European store in Milan, also aims to open more outlets in Italy, as well as Guam in 2019 and Spain in 2020, the report added.

* British sandwich chain Pret A Manger Ltd. said a second customer died after having an allergic reaction to one of its products. The death was caused by a dairy protein found in a nondairy yogurt, The New York Times reported. The second death follows the case of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who had an allergic reaction and died in 2016 after eating a Pret sandwich. After an inquest into Ednan-Laperouse's death, Pret said labels of its products will include all ingredients.

PACKAGED FOODS

* Ladyfingers Caterers issued a voluntary recall of its Signature Shaved Country Ham Rolls product after its supplier, Johnston County Hams, recalled 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products for possible listeria contamination. According to a notice from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Johnston County Hams informed Ladyfingers Caterers about a potential contamination in the ham produced from April 3, 2017, through October 3, 2018, in California, Washington, Delaware, North Carolina, New York, South Carolina and Virginia. The FDA is urging consumers to discard the product as one illness has been reported related to the Ladyfingers Caterers recall.

* New Zealand-based dairy group Fonterra Co-op Group Ltd. announced the appointment of an independent sustainability advisory panel as part of its strategy to ensure sustainability in its products. The newly formed panel will have meetings twice a year and provide guidance regarding the group's sustainability strategy, targets and initiatives.

* JBS Tolleson Inc., part of Brazilian packaged meat producer JBS SA's U.S. arm, is being sued by Dana Raab, who was hospitalized after consuming JBS' ground beef that was contaminated with salmonella, Reuters reported. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County, follows JBS' recall of ground beef and other raw beef products sold in the U.S. According to the report, the complaint said that Raab, who tested positive for salmonella, was hospitalized for five days due to severe dehydration and a blocked bile duct.

* Food company The Kraft Heinz Co. said it has committed up to $100 million to launch a food technology venture capital fund dubbed Evolv Ventures, which will invest in emerging tech companies transforming the food industry.

* Italy's Illy Caffè partnered with Jacobs Douwe Egberts, a unit of JAB Holding Co. Sàrl, to sell illy-branded coffee pods, Reuters reported, citing Illy Caffè CEO Massimiliano Pogliani. Financial details of the licensing deal were not disclosed.

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The day ahead

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

In Asia, the Hang Seng was down 1.39% to 26,202.57.

In Europe as of midday, the FTSE 100 slipped 0.56% to 7,277.39 and the Euronext 100 slipped 0.74% to 1,031.23.

On the macro front

The TD Ameritrade Investor Movement Index is 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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