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Patisserie Valerie CFO arrested; Indian regulator raids 3 brewers

TOP NEWS

* Patisserie Holdings PLC, operator of the U.K. café chain Patisserie Valerie, said CFO Chris Marsh, who was suspended following the discovery of "significant and potentially fraudulent" accounting, was arrested by police Oct. 11 and released on bail, according to a company filing to the London Stock Exchange. In a separate filing, the company said its board concluded that there is "a material shortfall" between its reported and actual financial status and that its board and advisers are "assessing all options available to the business to keep it trading."

* The Competition Commission of India, or CCI, conducted dawn raids at the offices of United Breweries Ltd., Carlsberg A/S and Anheuser-Busch Inbev SA/NV in at least two cities as part of its investigation into alleged price fixing, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The CCI reportedly has been conducting an antitrust investigation of the three companies for the past year. The raids unearthed emails showing that the companies were fixing prices, the report said, citing a government source. None of the three beer-makers immediately responded to requests for comment from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

FOOD RETAIL & DISTRIBUTION

* Portuguese food retailer Sonae SGPS SA has scrapped its plans to list shares of its subsidiary, Sonae MC SGPS SA, in an IPO on Euronext Lisbon, citing "current adverse conditions in international markets." The holding company announced the decision without disclosing further details about the withdrawal. Sonae SGPS initially planned to offer the shares through its unit Sonaecenter Serviços SA.

* French supermarket chain Carrefour SA teamed up with Denmark-based tech firm Too Good To Go ApS to tackle food waste. The startup's online app connects restaurants and hotels to consumers to save food wastage. Carrefour said it will also ask customers on social media to help it choose new statements to replace the semantics used for minimum durability dates. It added that expiry dates are responsible for 20% of food wastage and are "poorly understood."

* German discount grocer Lidl Stiftung & Co. KG opened five stores in Belgrade and 11 other stores across other cities in Serbia, marking the chain's first entry into the European country, Reuters reported. Lidl, which operates more than 10,000 stores in the continent, spent €205 million on its launch in Serbia, the report added, citing Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić. The 16 stores are expected to employ a total of 1,553 people, Vučić reportedly said.

BEVERAGES

* Heineken NV will launch its nonalcoholic beer, called Heineken 0.0, in the U.S. in January 2019 after rolling it out in Barcelona, Spain, in May 2017 and in more than 30 other countries, CNBC reported, citing Heineken USA Chief Marketing Officer Jonnie Cahill. In a dedicated website, the company said Heineken 0.0 is made with the same ingredients as the regular Heineken but is double brewed to remove the alcohol.

* Italian beverage company Davide Campari-Milano SpA, trading as Campari Group, opened a flagship store on Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s online marketplace Tmall, according to the e-commerce company's Alizila news site. Through Tmall, Campari is offering its spirits brands, including Aperol, Cinzano and its flagship Campari aperitif brand to Chinese customers. The move marks Campari's first partnership with a third-party marketplace, according to the release.

PACKAGED FOODS

* South Africa's Tiger Brands Ltd., a producer of packaged foods and meats, said it reopened its meat processing facility in the city of Germiston, the site of one of the factories that closed in March after the country's health department linked an outbreak of listeria to one of its facilities. The company added that the safety standards of its Germiston factory have been reaffirmed by the government after rigorous assessments.

TOBACCO & SMOKING PRODUCTS

* Philip Morris International Inc.'s South Korean unit will start selling locally made Heets tobacco sticks in the country in late October, Yonhap News Agency reported. Heets is a heated tobacco unit that is solely intended for use with Philip Morris' tobacco heating system IQOS. Philip Morris Korea imports Heets for sale in South Korea, Yonhap said. The company reportedly expanded its manufacturing plant in Yangsan, southeast of Seoul, to produce Heets domestically.

RESTAURANTS

* Kingfisher PLC's Karen Witts will step down as its CFO to join British food and support services company Compass Group PLC for the same position, the companies said in separate stock exchange filings. Witts, who had been a director and CFO at the London-based home improvement retailer since 2012, is also a nonexecutive director at U.K. tobacco company Imperial Brands PLC. Compass Group said Witts will succeed Johnny Thomson, who will step down as CFO at the end of December. Kingfisher said the company's board will conduct a search for Witts' replacement as she remains in her position to allow a smooth transition.

* Pizza Hut's parent company, YUM! Brands Inc., said it appointed Vipul Chawla as president of Pizza Hut International effective, Dec. 3. Chawla will replace Milind Pant, who will step down at the end of November to pursue other opportunities outside the company. Chawla, currently managing director of the pizza chain's Asia-Pacific business, has been with the company for more than seven years. He joined Yum! Brands in 2011 after spending 20 years with Unilever PLC.

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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 climbed 2.12% to 25,801.49, and the Nikkei 225 increased 0.46% to 22,694.66.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 was up 0.86% to 7,066.94, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.55% to 995.60.

On the macro front

The import and export prices report, the consumer sentiment 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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