Over 150 delegates attended the annual agri-food conference in the Craigavon Civic Centre recently. The mood in the room was positive with business leaders detailing their views on future opportunities and how they view the challenge of Brexit. Unfortunately, no unified voice from our politicians who remain on the side lines at this crunch time in negotiations. Find out more
Continued growth in Food and Beverage M&A activity
48 deals involving UK and Ireland companies were completed in Quarter 4 2017; a similar volume to Quarter 3 in 2016 (47 deals). Across 2017, there were a total of 206 deals valued ay £21.4 billion, compared to 202 deals valued at £8.4 billion in 2016. 2017 was a year of increased deal sizes on the whole, strengthened by those such as Tesco’s purchase of Booker and Reckitt Benckiser’s sale of its food business to McCormick.
2017 also saw a high level of cross border deal activity and private equity activity was also particularly strong. 22% of deals across the year involved private equity investment. Alcohol continued to dominate deal activity in 2017. It accounted for 34 acquisitions across the year and 16.5% of activity. This was primarily led by spirits and craft beer transactions. Find out more
Locally SHS Group has continued its growth with a third acquisition in less than 12 months. SHS has acquired Meridian and Rocks the peanut butter and squashes business. This acquisition further enhances the brand portfolio of SHS and captures a share of the growing consumer demand for proteins in their diet. Find out more
British beef ban in China could be lifted
Following the British Prime Minister’s three-day trade mission to Beijing, it has been announced that the ban on British beef exports to China could be lifted within 6 months if a visit from Chinese inspectors this spring is successful. This would clear the way for detailed discussions and the completion of a five-step process to open the Chinese market to British beef.
This news has been welcomed by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, which has been working on market access in the region for a number of years. It is also good news for exporters keen to look to new, non-EU markets. Access to the Chinese market could be worth up to £250 million in the first five years to UK farmers. Good news for our local beef industry. Find out more
UK Grocery Market Share Update
The latest grocery market share figures from Kantar Worldpanel for the 12 weeks to 28 January 2018, show that grocery sales increased in value by 3.4% compared with this time last year. This is despite the seasonal dip in shopper spend post-Christmas with shoppers spending £1.6 billion less in the grocers compared to the month before.
Lidl was once again crowned the UK’s fastest-growing retailer and saw sales climb by 16.3% compared to this time last year. Aldi also increased sales by 16.2% compared to this time last year. Tesco still remains the fastest growing of the big four with sales growth of 2.6%. Asda and Morrisons both experienced sales growth of 2.2% compared to this time last year. Find out more