In the papers this week 21 – 27 March 2009
Drinks sector experiences worst performance in a quarter of a century, Centra in the Faythe in Wexford is raided after Patrick's Day, Reox shareholders angry
26 March 2009
Last year saw the worst performance for the drinks sector in a quarter of a century, reports The Irish Times.
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) revealed that the downturn in the economy and sharp increase in cross-border sales has led to severe revenue losses for the State. It said that increases in alcohol taxes in the coming supplementary budget could give rise to 9,000 job losses from pubs and off-licences in 2009.
Economic activity in Ireland has experienced the biggest quarterly drop on record, reports The Irish Independent, slumping by 7.5% in the last three months of 2008. According to the CSO, consumer spending was down 4%, while capital investment was more than 30% lower, and industrial output was down 12.5%.
Over 20 packets of “wild” smoked salmon on sale at Wrights of Howth at Dublin airport alegedly contained farmed salmon, a court heard this week. The Irish Times reports that the case is being brought against Wrights of Howth, Galway Ltd, and two of its directors, by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Wrights’ lawyer says that unless the FSAI can prove the salmon had not been caught in open seas, even if it had spent some time in a fish farm, his clients should be acquitted.
Dairygold’s pay-off to Reox Holdings’ former chief executive, Jerry Henchy, could reach €3m, said former junior minister Ned O’Keeffe in the Sunday Tribune. An influential Dairygold co-op member, O’Keffe is insisting there is "no golden handshake" for Henchy, who “pursued rationalisation without a vision of where the co-op was going."
The Corkman reports that there were angry exchanges at the Reox Holding AGM on Monday as shareholders called for resignations amid the turmoil in the Dairygold offshoot. The Reox AGM followed the redundancy of Jerry Henchy last week, the sale of its consumer foods division Breeo, also last week, and reports of heavy financial losses in the past year.
Dairy farmers, reports The Indo, are reeling at the latest round of milk cuts in which Dairygold slashed its price to 20c/l for March supplies. Cuts of between 2c/l and 3c/l have also been announced by other co-ops. The IFA has said Dairygold suppliers are furious at the board’s decision to lead milk prices down, particularly after the Kerry Group’s successful appeal on the sale of Breeo Foods.
A former IFA, Leinster, Louth, and Beef chairman, Raymond O’Malley, is set to stand for anti-Lisbon party Libertas in the next European elections, the Drogheda Independent reports. O’Malley from Ardee, will contest the seats currently held by Mairead McGuinness, Liam Aylward, and the retiring Avril Doyle.
Speaking at a recent European conference on cross-border fraud, the Director of Public Prosecutions, James Hamilton, noted that with the highest cigarette taxes in the UK and Ireland we are a primary target for smugglers. Cigarette fraud is estimated to cost the ROI €500m in lost revenue, he added, while one in four cigarettes are counterfeits, reports The Irish Times.
Health groups, meanwhile, have urged the government not to let cigarette fraud deter it from increasing tobacco taxes. The Irish Heart Foundation, Irish Cancer Society and ASH Ireland say in The Irish Independent that they are all for the €2 excise hike.
The Irish Independent revealed that a video of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg crushing machine has become a You Tube sensation. The so-called ‘Rube Goldberg Machine’, which uses a series of weights, balls, swings and wires to smash the famous egg, has attracted over 700,000 viewers. The invention was created as an entry for Cadbury’s “Unleash the Goo” campaign.
A Centra in the Faythe, Co Wexford, was raided in the early hours of morning following St Patrick’s day, reports the Wexford People. Raiders made off with the safe containing “a sizable amount” of cash and around €20,000 worth of cigarette.
Shoppers spent an average of €1,700 online in 2008, according to a new survey by iReach. However the results published in The Irish Times show that while 24% of respondents said they expected to spend more online this year, that the popularity of online shopping has not translated into the grocery sector. Only 13% of Irish consumers currently purchase their groceries online.
The UK’s annual rate of inflation showed an unexpected rise in February after retailers offset higher import costs caused by the weak pound, reports the Sunday Business Post in Breaking News this week. The CPI rose unexpectedly from 3% in January to 3.2%, confounding predictions of a sharp drop and leaving inflation at more than 1% above the UK government’s 2% target.
Ocean Advertising, the Dublin-based brand development and ad company whose clients include Tiger Beer, has instigated a poaching exercise in a bid to expand, reports the SBP. Ocean’s “client-driven” proposal invites advertising executives of rival companies to transfer to its team, and bring their clients with them.
An increasingly tense farm strike in Argentina is fuelling concerns among food importers and straining global stocks, according to The Financial Times. Argentine farmers have halted sales of grains, oilseeds and beef until midnight on Friday after the government rejected demands to cut a 35% export tariff on soya.
Asda has embarked on a round of "tough" negotiations with all major suppliers, including multinationals such as Unilever. In order to boost its fire power against rivals such as Tesco, The Observer (UK) reports that the pricing terms of nearly all 30,000 products in its stores are under scrutiny, with suppliers asked to offer better terms.