What the Sunday papers say - July 8

Related tags Goldman sachs Tourism Beck

Sunday BusinessGerman brewer Beck is exploring strategic options which could lead to a sale of the business for about £600m. It is understood to...

Sunday Business

German brewer Beck is exploring strategic options which could lead to a sale of the business for about £600m. It is understood to have appointed US bank Goldman Sachs as adviser. Scottish & Newcastle is being tipped to buy, but others are poised to launch a bid, including Interbrew and Anheuser-Busch.

Pubmaster is planning further acquisitions even if it succeeds in its £453m bid for Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries. Pubmaster chief executive John Sands is holding back from putting up its bid despite one shareholder saying a 10 per cent increase would win its backing.

Coliseum Group is on the lookout to acquire businesses within the licensed retail sector after floating on the stock exchange's alternative investment market last week.

Analysts are preparing to upgrade their predictions for Chorion as it moves towards demerging its bars division from its intellectual property.

Independent on Sunday

The Treasury is siphoning off £2.5m from the Government's rescue package for the tourist industry - the total £14.2m grant has been hit by a rule that it is liable for 17.5 per cent VAT.

Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson is this week due to declare war on the £8bn counterfeit goods trade, including fake vodka, whisky and PPSs.

The market price of coffee has hit its lowest level for 36 years amid fears that increased production in South-East Asia and record output in central America will lead to a worldwide glut.

Tetley is planning to launch a chain of branded tea bars after trials of a store concept in Manchester. The move could put Tetley in a head-to-head battle with the likes of Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee.

Sunday Times

Regent Inns has locked out rivals from acquiring Pitcher & Piano. The £70m bar chain has been put up for sale by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries (W&DB). Regent has agreed a deal with both W&DB and Pubmaster, which is trying to buy the brewer, regardless of who wins the takeover battle. Regent's shares are recommended as a hold at 153p.

Diageo is the top-ranking company from the British drinks and pubs sector - at 306th - in next weekend's Fortune 500 list which ranks the world's top-performing companies.

Iceland's shares are recommended as 150.75p despite a blizzard of profit warnings and an insider-dealing inquiry. It has a strong management team to put the company back on its feet.

The Observer

The tourism industry is still losing £130m a week because of foot-and-mouth disease, and overall hotel bookings are 30 per cent down. But a return to the countryside has begun and there are signs British tourism is starting to get back on its feet. But in some rural areas, especially Devon, Cumbria and south-western Scotland, which were at the heart of the epidemic, times are still hard. The number of visitors to Cumbria has fallen 45 per cent. Dumfries and Galloway has seen a drop of 25 per cent.

The Sunday Telegraph

Shares in Iceland, which owns Booker cash & carry, are recommended as a buy as the group begins a strategy for revival over the next three to four years. Profits for 2002 are forecast as flat at £40m.

Sunday Express

Inventive Leisure's shares are recommended as ones to buy at 172.5p. Its management team is praised for its strength and for driving sales and margins forward after shares soared by more than 50 per cent this year.

Consumer Minister Melanie Johnson will warn this week that fake goods are dangerous as well as dodgy. They include fake vodka, whisky and PPSs containing methylated spirits and antifreeze, which could case blindness, as well as cheap cider posing as champagne.

Whitbread's Costa Coffee is on track to achieve its target of expanding the chain to more than 500 outlets by 2004-5 as well as developing third party partnerships with pubs and other operators. Coffee Republic also believes the market is "far from saturated".

Scotland on Sunday

Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) has been linked with Beck's, the German brewer. Beck's has appointed investment bank Goldman Sachs to review its future options and although this exercise is in its early stages some industry watchers are already slavering over a potential sale that would value the German business at some £500m. S&N is Beck's sole distributor in the UK and the German beer has become one of the company's top five beer brands.

Mail on Sunday

Bordeaux winemakers are harvesting massive profits because of increased demand for the region's 2000 vintage wine.

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