Bayer-Monsanto approval close in US
German chemical giant, Bayer, is understood to be near to winning US antitrust approval to buy the US biotechnology and chemical group, Monsanto Company.
The $80 billion deal, which began two years ago, is the biggest of three recent global super mergers in the farm chemical and seed sector.
It needs to be signed off by the US Justice Department which earlier had concerns about Bayer not offloading enough of its assets to BASF to appease antitrust officials in America.
Bayer’s takeover has been approved by about two-thirds of the jurisdictions required to sign off on the deal, including the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last month.
India, Russia and the US are still to give the green light.
Olam profit up 65pc
Singapore-based agricultural commodity trader and processor, Olam International, has posted a 2017 after-tax profit of almost $569 million – up 65 per cent on 2016.
One-off gains from divestments, operational performance and lower taxes were offset by higher depreciation, amortisation expenses and finance costs.
Revenue from edible nuts, spices and vegetable ingredients grew 13pc to $4.4 billion and cotton was up 39pc to $3.7b.
Chief operating officer A. Shekhar said improved operational performance across most of the company’s span of businesses segments in 2017 was thanks to cost efficiencies after significant investment in digitalisation across the supply chain.
Olam owns the Queensland Cotton ginning and marketing business in Queensland and NSW, pulse processing and packing operations in southern Queensland and major almond farming and processing operations in northern Victoria.
Internationally the business is a market leader in cocoa, coffee, edible nuts, spices, rice and cotton.
Olam has committed to a 22pc improvement in irrigation and processing water efficiency within its operations.
Woolies wins 2017 race
The Woolworths supermarket chain gained 0.8 per cent market share to hold a leading 32.2pc of Australia’s total grocery market, including fresh food, in 2017.
According to the Roy Morgan research group, Coles Group also gained marginally to achieve a 28.8pc share – up 0.1pc.
German-owned Aldi also gained 0.8pc market share, rising to claim 12.1pc overall, while the IGA independent retailers network lost 1.1pc to slip to 7.4pc overall.
Roy Morgan surveys more than 50,000 people a year, including 12,000-plus grocery buyers.
The surveys highlighted a clear lack of loyalty among supermarket shoppers, with few customers patronising just one supermarket.
Although 72.7pc of grocery buyers visit Woolworths, just 8pc shop only at Woolworths, and while 70pc of shoppers frequent Coles stores, only 6.6pc shop there exclusively.
Non-supermarket food retailers such as butchers, fruit shops, farmers’ markets, and convenience stores have about 11.8pc market share, but their share was weaker than 2016 by 0.8pc.
The combined market share of Woolworths, Coles and ALDI is now 73.1pc, up 1.7pc for the year, although major supermarkets have a lower market portion of the fresh food sales than their overall grocery market stake.
Big wine promo hits Hong Kong
Wine Australia has appointed creative agency R/GA Sydney to help raise the profile for premium Australian wine in China and the USA, as part of the federal government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package.
The new global marketing strategy starts in May when Australia is given “Country of Honour” status at Vinexpo Hong Kong, where our largest-ever showcase of 140 wine brands representing 35-plus regions will be represented.
R/GA Sydney will design and deliver an integrated marketing program to drive growth in product sales and wine-related tourism from global markets.
“Wine Australia has a clear vision for lifting the perception and desirability of Australian wine and we are immensely proud to be the ones helping them get there,” said R/GA managing director, Rebecca Bezzina.
A key focus of the $50m government package is growing wine exports and showcasing Australia’s wine tourism experiences.