What the Sunday Papers said

Related tags Soft drink Coca-cola

Tony Blair's flagship identity cards scheme is set to fail and may not be introduced for a generation, according to leaked Whitehall e-mails from the...

Tony Blair's flagship identity cards scheme is set to fail and may not be introduced for a generation, according to leaked Whitehall e-mails from the senior officials responsible for the multi-billion-pound project. The problems are so serious that ministers have been forced to draw up plans for a scaled-down "face-saving" version to meet their pledge of phasing in the cards from 2008 - The Sunday Times

Buyout firm Permira is the early frontrunner to acquire Hard Rock Cafe, the chain of music memorabilia-themed restaurants owned by Rank. Talks with Rank began two months ago after an unsolicited approach from the private-equity group - The Sunday Times

Premier Foods is preparing to dish up a £400m share issue as it nears a deal to buy the British and Irish operations of Campbell's Soup. Robert Schofield, chief executive of Premier, the Ambrosia puddings to Branston pickle group, has asked Merrill Lynch to arrange the fundraising. Schofield's fundraising plans could be expanded if Premier also secures a deal to acquire the British arm of United Biscuits, which includes ranges such as McCoy's, Hula Hoops and Jaffa Cakes - The Sunday Times

Hotel group Hilton intends to expand its 2,800 worldwide properties to more than 4,000 within five years. The expansion drive follows the reunification of the Hilton brands under one company earlier this year when Hilton in America bought out its UK counterpart, Hilton Group. The company expects to expand the number of the group's UK hotels from 70 to 140 within five to seven years - The Sunday Times

The Government is this week expected to perform a U-turn on plans to bring forward key deadlines for 9m taxpayers. In his spring Budget statement Gordon Brown, announced plans to bring forward the deadline for filing self-assessment forms for businesses and individuals, including thousands of licensees, to September from next year. The deadline is currently the end of January. Accountants at all the big four accountancy groups have already opposed the move, while a strongly-worded parliamentary Early Day Motion has attracted cross-party support from more than 104 MPs. The EDM says that the move would place an "undue burden on taxpayers" - The Sunday Telegraph

The City expects that within nine months leisure group Rank will disappear altogether with the sale of its bingo halls and casinos. And with it, around 70 years of business will be consigned to history. Having since disposed of its pub interests, Rank is in the midst of selling the 121 Hard Rock Cafes it owns around the world. A sale is expected to fetch up to £540m on revenues of £244.7m; the brand still has strong appeal abroad - The Observer

Teenagers from affluent homes are the most likely to drink frequently and behave while drunk in a way that they will regret, according to a new study which also finds that girls typically drink more than boys. The survey of 11 to 16 year olds shows that, while girls start drinking regularly later than boys, their intake increases significantly at around 13 and they outstrip boys by the time they are 14 or 15 - The Observer

SABMiller shares traded lower on Friday after a Florida court ruling cleared the way for US conglomerate Altria, parent of tobacco company Philip Morris and Kraft Foods, to start planning its break-up. The process should be completed by the end of the year. According to analysts, this will inevitably raise the question of what Altria plans to do with its 28.7 per cent holding in SAB - The Financial Times (weekend edition)

Magner's owner C&C is relying on emergency supplies of carbon dioxide from eastern Europe to make up a shortfall in supply. C&C is now getting its CO2 at its Clonmel facility in Tipperary all the way from Poland courtesy of BOC - The Financial Times (weekend edition)

Coke Zero, the latest offering from US soft-drink giant Coca-Cola, has come under attack for failing to adapt to market trends and for potentially diluting the brand. The no-sugar fizzy drink backed by a reported £8m marketing budget, is its first brand launch since Diet Coke was introduced 22 years ago. Stuart Whitwell, a joint managing director of brand consultancy Intangible Business, said Coca-Cola was being "far too optimistic" about its new drink. "They are trying to buck a trend that's moving away from carbonated soft drinks. People want fruit juices, water, natural ingredients. And if it does work, it risks encroaching on Diet Coke. It's also just more confusion for the consumer and I think they have got it wrong." - The Independent on Sunday

And finally…Buying a bottle of whisky in Moscow has become mission impossible. Russians are facing the country's most serious alcohol shortage in 20 years. The drought is not the result of an anti-alcohol campaign, but of a bureaucratic bungle. The aim was to stamp out fraudulently labelled bootleg alcohol, with July 1 the deadline for introducing new barcoded excise labels for all imported alcohol. But most retailers were not issued with the new excise labels. The result was that they had to sell off all their foreign wines and spirits at bargain prices before the end of June, or simply send the booze back to the warehouse - The Independent on Sunday

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