PepsiCo selling Tropicana, other juice brands for $3.3bn – as it happened

Last modified: 02: 43 PM GMT+0

Rolling coverage of business and economics news as PepsiCo agreed to sell its Tropicana and juice brands for $3.3bn

Closing summary - US stock indices have reversed gains made at the open and moved into negative territory.

Stocks on Wall Street cut some of their losses after June factory orders data came in higher than anticipated at 1.5%. Despite this, the Nasdaq Composite has dipped into the red, while the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 remain flat.

US Factory Orders (Jun) come in at 1.5%, exp: 1%, prev: 1.7%

— Michael Hewson 🇬🇧 (@mhewson_CMC) August 3, 2021

In other news from today:

  • PepsiCo is selling Tropicana and other juice brands to a private equity firm for $3.3bn as it concentrates on zero-calorie drinks and health-focused snacks.
  • Oil major BP will buy back $1.4bn of shares and has promised to increase its dividend, as it forecasts a oil prices for the rest of the decade.
  • The IMF has allocated $650bn in reserve assets, the largest resource injection in its history, to help economies which are struggling as a result of the pandemic.

You can continue to follow our live coverage from around the world:

In the UK, there has been a three-month high in the number of deaths in England and Wales which mention Covid-19 on the death certificate

And in the US, Covid hospitalisation have climbed to levels seen last summer

Thanks for following our live coverage today and please do join me again tomorrow. JP

China’s largest social media and video game company Tencent is limiting the amount of time children can spend playing its flagship video game.

Honor of Kings, the world’s top-grossing game for the past two years, is is popular among students, some of whom reportedly play it for up to eight hours a day.

Tencent’s move came after an article in Chinese state media labelled online gaming “spiritual opium” and compared it to “electronic drugs”.

The article in the Economic Information Daily (EID), affiliated with China’s biggest state-run news agency Xinhua, did not mention Tencent by name, but called for more restrictions on the industry to prevent “widespread” addiction among children, sending Tencent’s shares sliding by as much as 11%.

However, the article was deleted online just hours after being published, and Tencent’s shares rallied somewhat to end the day 6% down.

Investors are concerned that gaming is becoming the latest target of a regulatory crackdown on China’s biggest technology companies.

Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell said:

Fears over Chinese regulatory interference aren’t going away, with Tencent the latest stock to slump on chatter about Beijing seeking to wield its power. [Tencent’s shares] are now down by more than a fifth year-to-date as investors reassess their willingness to have exposure to big Chinese names.

Read the full story by my colleague Mark Sweney here:

Updated

Oil is having another volatile day today, and has been moving between positive and negative territory.

Fears over rising cases of the Delta coronavirus variant have kept prices subdued, while on the other hand there are expectations that US inventories will decline.

#Oil — continuation of yesterday so far #OOTT

— Abhi Rajendran (@ARaj_Energy) August 3, 2021

🎯

Btw ICYMI — inventories falling doesn’t mean #oil price has to go up regardless of where the price is, esp if headwinds emerge ahead #OOTT #Opec https://t.co/eWuPgETFsr

— Abhi Rajendran (@ARaj_Energy) August 3, 2021

Brent crude - the international benchmark - is currently around 2.3% down at $71.18 a barrel.

West Texas Intermediate - the US benchmark - is also tracking lower, falling 2.7% to $69.34.

The main Wall Street stock indices have risen at the open, buoyed by upbeat corporate earnings and an increase in global deals activity.

At the opening bell, the Dow Jones nudged higher by 25 points, or 0.07%, while the S&P 500 rose by 0.13%, or 5.6 points. The Nasdaq also remained in positive territory at the open, climbing 0.2%.

However, investors’ concerns about the Delta coronavirus variant kept gains muted, a factor we also saw at play in trading on the Asian markets .

News of another deal today - activewear brand Sweaty Betty has been sold for $410m (£295m) to US footwear firm Wolverine Worldwide.

A branch of Sweaty Betty in Surrey
A branch of Sweaty Betty in Surrey Photograph: Ian Tuttle/REX/Shutterstock

Best known for its fitness and yoga leggings - aka many people’s choice of lockdown attire - Sweaty Betty was founded in London in 1998. Now stocked internationally in stores, concessions and online, the brand started life as a small boutique in London’s Notting Hill.

Wolverine, known for its Keds, Saucony and Merrell sneakers, scoops up Sweaty Betty athletic apparel brand https://t.co/gp1UPqXXl4

— Omar Abdel-Baqui (@omarabdelb) August 3, 2021

Wolverine Worldwide already owns a host of footwear brands which including Hush Puppies, Keds, Merrell and Saucony.

The firm calls itself “a global marketer of branded footwear, as well as apparel and accessories”. It’s bought Sweaty Betty from private equity firm L Catterton, which has owned the brand since 2015.

As PepsiCo’s future strategy focusses on zero-calorie drinks, a reminder that hasn’t been able to call its Naked Juice “all natural” for the best part of a decade, following a US lawsuit.

The company said it would no longer call these juice drinks “all natural” after a 2013 lawsuit, which complained that the beverages didn’t contain ingredients which lived up to that description. Pepsi also paid $9bn to settle that lawsuit.

Pepsi said it used “an added boost of vitamins” in some drinks. But the lawsuit filed against the company described the vitamins, including a fibre, as synthetic ingredients.

PepsiCo’s boss has explained the company’s reasons for selling a controlling stake in its juice brands.

The company is looking to move from high-sugar drinks - like the one which gives the firm its name - to healthier options.

Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s chairman and chief executive said:

This joint venture with PAI enables us to realise significant upfront value, whilst providing the focus and resources necessary to drive additional long-term growth for these beloved brands.

In addition, it will free us to concentrate on our current portfolio of diverse offerings, including growing our portfolio of healthier snacks, zero-calorie beverages, and products like SodaStream which are focused on being better for people and the planet.

Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store
Bottles of Pepsi are pictured at a grocery store Photograph: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

Private equity firm PAI Partners, which is buying Pepsi’s juice brands, already owns the ice-cream brand Häagen-Dazs in a joint venture with Nestlé.

Frédéric Stévenin, a managing partner at PAI, has an interesting take on juice drinks.

Stévenin told the Financial Times that Tropicana and Naked are “both on the right side, and the wrong side” of consumers’ move towards healthier products.

He said:

The juice category has seen lower growth in the last couple of years because of the sugar content. There’s a lot of natural sugar in juice, but there are good things too in terms of vitamins and fibre.

Pepsi’s not the only drinks maker looking to refine its range to move with the times. Rival Coca-Cola has also been streamlining its offering and has discontinued its Coca-Cola Energy brand in the US, and at the start of the year sold its Zico coconut water back to the drink’s founder.

PepsiCo selling Tropicana and other juice brands for $3.3bn

PepsiCo is selling its controlling stake in Tropicana and other juice brands including Naked in North America for $3.3bn.

Pepsi announced it is selling the brands to French private equity firm PAI Partners, as it looks to concentrate on its growing portfolio of health-focused snacks and zero-calorie drinks.

The firm is retaining a 39% stake in the new joint venture, and it will also have exclusive distribution rights for the brands in the US.

PepsiCo has owned Tropicana since 1998, when it bought the juice brand for approximately $3.3bn. It then snapped up Naked Juice in late 2006 for $150m.

A look at some of the action on Asian stock markets today.

India’s main stock indices closed at a record high today as investors bet on the continuation of stimulus in the country, to help it recover from the Covid crisis.

India’s blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index surpassed the 16,000 level for the first time, closing the day up 1.6% at 16,130.

#CNBCTV18Market | Nifty hits 16,000 for the 1st time ever #NiftyAt16000 pic.twitter.com/BI9Z88o8ry

— CNBC-TV18 (@CNBCTV18Live) August 3, 2021

The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex also rose some 1.7% to what Bloomberg called the highest level in data which goes back to 1979.

Investors in Asia’s third-largest economy are also now forecasting a faster-than-expected recovery after the devastating second wave of Covid infections in the country.

India’s central bank makes its next policy decision at the end of the week, where interest rates are expecting to remain on hold at current record low levels.

The Indian stock market rises came on a day of otherwise tentative trading on Asian markets, as investors were rattled by the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant in parts of the region.

On Greggs - a reminder that the company is among those which hasn’t yet repaid the business rates relief received from the government.

Greggs has posted its highest ever profits and announced a dividend as it shrugs off pandemic woes - so should the sausage roll maker really be keeping £13m of business rates relief?
Doesn’t sit right with the brand’s usual feel good factorhttps://t.co/OSzM2Jws7E

— Ashley Armstrong (@AArmstrong_says) August 3, 2021

Greggs’ chief executive Roger Whiteside said in May in a trading update that it would consider repaying the state aid it received in furlough and business rates relief when “the uncertainty is behind us” and when it knew what its competitors had done.

Clothing and homeware chain Next became the latest retailer to join the ranks of business rates repayers last month. It said it would return £29m to the government after reporting strong revenue growth and hiking its profit forecast for the third time in four months.

Fancy a pasty for dinner?

Ok, it’s not yet lunchtime, but Greggs is thinking about the evening meal as it looks to keep growing the business.

The bakery chain - known for its vegan and meat sausage rolls and steak bakes - is targeting what it calls the “evening daypart” to increase its sales.

The Newcastle-upon-Tyne-headquartered retailer says customers are becoming more used to pre-ordering food, either for delivery or to make sure their choice is available when they “click and collect” it in a store.

Greggs said:

Pre-ordering is a market trend that we believe will support, in particular, our ambition to grow sales in the evening daypart, a segment of the market where we are currently underrepresented. Delivery will also have a role to play here, giving customers convenient access to Greggs’ products wherever they are throughout the day.

Vegan sausage rolls and steak bakes on sale in a Greggs bakery
Vegan sausage rolls and steak bakes on sale in a Greggs bakery Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Greggs is also planning to expand its store network and hire 500 new staff, as the company reported a return to profit in the first half of the year.

The bakery chain reported a £55.5m pretax profit in the 26 weeks to 3 July, as sales bounced back when Covid restrictions eased. The firm has raised its profit guidance for the year and reinstated its dividend on the back of the strong performance.

You can read the full story here:

Euro zone factory gate prices rise again in June, seen as signal inflation is still climbing - Eurostat data

Producer prices in the euro zone moved higher again in June, driven by another rise in energy prices.

Factory gate prices across the 19 countries which use the euro increased by 1.4% month-on-month in June, which is a 10.2% year-on-year rise, according to data from Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office.

These figures are reinforcing some people’s view that inflation in the single currency area hasn’t finished its current climb.

Euro area industrial #ProducerPrices +1.4% in June over May 2021, +10.2% over June 2020 https://t.co/HLyq614eBU pic.twitter.com/Malpkcwu9E

— EU_Eurostat (@EU_Eurostat) August 3, 2021

Energy prices increased by 3.3% month-on-month, representing a whopping 25.4% rise from a year earlier.

However there was a slight respite in the monthly increase in the prices of intermediate goods - such as steel, wood or salt - which rose by 1.3% in June, compared with a 1.7% increase in May. These prices are up 10.6% from June 2020.

Factory gate prices do usually end up feeding through to consumers - and so signal the direction of inflation.

Inflation in the euro zone rose faster than expected in July, hitting 2.2%, which is above the European Central Bank’s 2% target.

Analysts expect inflation to accelerate further in the next few months, with it likely hitting above 2.5%.

However ECB policymakers aren’t thought to be too concerned about this temporary spike in inflation - provided it remains just that - and they’ve said they won’t change policy, as the reasons for the rise, such as higher energy prices, are expected to tail off next year.

People sit outside a restaurant near the popular shopping street Kurfürstendamm in Berlin.
People sit outside a restaurant near the popular shopping street Kurfürstendamm in Berlin.
The increase in factory gate prices in the euro zone is expected to feed through to consumers in the 19 countries which share the euro.
Photograph: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

That news from BP has seen its shares rise by 2.9% this morning, making it the biggest riser on London’s FTSE 100.

Elsewhere, it’s looking like a mostly positive start to the day on the European stock markets, although the main indices are only nudging slightly higher.

  • UK’s FTSE 100 is up about 20 points, or 0.3%, at 7,101
  • France’s CAC is up 0.8%
  • Germany’s Dax just remains in positive territory, up almost 0.1%
  • Italy’s FTSE MiB up nearly 0.1%
  • Spain’s Ibex has just edged into the red
  • Euro Stoxx 600 has ticked up 0.3%

BP has raised its oil price forecasts for rest of this decade, but lowered them for the longer term, writes the Guardian’s energy correspondent Jillian Ambrose.

You can read her story on BP’s results here:

BP to buy back $1.4bn of shares as rising oil price boosts profits

Now for some corporate news.

Oil giant BP is to hand its shareholders a £1bn windfall through share buybacks, while it is also promising to up its dividend by 4% a year up to 2025.

It comes as the firm is predicting a short-term increase in global oil prices before a quicker than expected shift to low-carbon energy.

Rising global oil prices helped BP make an underlying profit of $2.8bn for the three months to June, up sharply from a loss of $6.68bn in the same quarter last year when Covid-19 brought the oil industry to a standstill.

Updated

IMF warns on crypto

Another word on the IMF - it’s repeated its warnings to countries which are planning to use the digital currency as legal tender.

The IMF has previously blogged on the issue, in an article entitled “Cryptoassets as National Currency? A Step Too Far”.

In it, the IMF warns about the volatility of digital cryptocurrencies, as well as how they can be used by speculators.

It also cautions: “The most direct cost of widespread adoption of a cryptoasset such as bitcoin is to macroeconomic stability”.

The blog doesn’t mention El Salvador by name, but the central American country is due to become the first in the world to accept bitcoin as legal tender.

The country’s congress approved the bitcoin proposal - originally made by its media-savvy 39-year-old president in June - and the decision will take effect in September.

President Nayib Bukele has hailed the use of the cryptocurrency as a way of promoting “financial inclusion”, investment and economic development.

There have been concerns that El Salvador’s adoption of bitcoin could complicated talks with the IMF, where it is seeking a financing programme worth more than $1bn.

You can read more about El Salvador’s plans here:

What they said about the IMF announcement.

Following the news about the IMF’s allocation of $650bn special drawing rights - some campaigners are calling for rich nations to donate their share to poorer countries.

Eric LeCompte, executive director at Jubilee USA Network, a US religious development organisation, said developing countries need more aid to get over the crisis prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Wealthy countries receive most of these emergency reserves and must donate them to developing countries. - Eric LeCompte, executive director, Jubilee USA Network

That view is shared by Labour MP Liam Byrne, who represents a Birmingham constituency.

Byrne wrote in the Financial Times earlier this week that the plan would “only work if the IMF’s shareholders now agree three big steps to move the money out of the vaults and into the assault on poverty”.

The SDR is not a “panacea for poverty”, Byrne wrote. But he said their impact could be maximised.

Richer nations must share all of their new SDRs with poorer nations. Because of the way they are allocated, just 4 per cent will flow to poorer nations. Of the new SDR issue, $623bn is set to flow to richer nations, which frankly do not need it. We need a bold proposal to issue these SDRs without the old-fashioned traditions that meant wealthier countries only share 50 per cent of their quotas. The UK should lead the negotiation. - Liam Byrne MP

Introduction: IMF allocates $650bn to help pandemic-hit economies

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

Overnight, the board of governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the largest resource injection in its history to boost global liquidity and help countries which are struggling as a result of the pandemic.

The reserve assets - known as “special drawing rights” - total $650bn (£468bn) and become available on 23 August when they will be credited to IMF member countries.

The lion’s share - around 70% - of the allocation will go to the world’s 20 largest economies (the G20), although around $275bn is destined for emerging markets and developing countries, including low-income countries.

The IMF’s managing director Kristalina Georgieva hailed a “historic decision” and a “shot in the arm for the global economy at a time of unprecedented crisis”.

The SDR allocation will benefit all members, address the long-term global need for reserves, build confidence, and foster the resilience and stability of the global economy.

It will particularly help our most vulnerable countries struggling to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The IMF’s Board of Governors approved a new general allocation of SDRs equivalent to US$650 billion. Managing Director @KGeorgieva says it’s a historic decision reached at a time of unprecedented crisis. Read more: https://t.co/x8KCBR7G3l pic.twitter.com/ZYUbZyih4n

— IMF (@IMFNews) August 2, 2021

All member countries will benefit from the newly approved allocation of SDRs, effective on August 23, 2021. Read more: https://t.co/x8KCBR7G3l pic.twitter.com/2N0xavjFq5

— IMF (@IMFNews) August 2, 2021

Emerging market and developing countries will receive about US$275 billion, boosting their reserves and liquidity. Read more: https://t.co/x8KCBR7G3l pic.twitter.com/h5pviLOn6o

— IMF (@IMFNews) August 2, 2021

The IMF’s plan was delayed last year when the IMF’s largest shareholder the United States - led at the time by President Trump - blocked it, saying the money wouldn’t reach countries that need it. But the US’s position changed under President Biden.

The agenda

  • 8am BST: Spanish unemployment data for July
  • 10am BST: eurozone producer prices for June
  • 3pm BST: US factory orders for June

Contributors

Joanna Partridge

The GuardianTramp

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