FOOD AND DRINK
Devro eyes efficiency, sales
British sausage-skin maker Devro PLC yesterday announced an investment program aimed at increasing sales and manufacturing efficiency after reporting a fall in last year’s sales volumes. The maker of edible collagen casings for bratwurst, salami and chorizo said it would invest ￡7 million to ￡8 million (US$8.59 million to US$9.81 million) and expected exceptional costs of the program to be ￡10 million to ￡12 million. It expects annual benefits from the program of ￡13 to ￡16 million by 2019, Devro said. Devro reported a 14 percent rise in last year’s underlying operating profit to ￡38.1 million, helped by favorable currency movement and lower input costs. Revenue rose 4.7 percent to ￡241.1 million. However, Devro said full-year sales volumes fell 6.6 percent.
Avantium upbeat on IPO
Avantium, a Dutch company that has developed technology for making plastic from sugars rather than petrochemicals, yesterday said that it hopes to raise at least 90 million euros in an initial public offering (IPO), giving it a market capitalization of 264 million euros (US$279.66 million). Avantium is selling 8.2 million shares at 11 euros per share, or a 34 percent stake post-IPO, it said in a statement, with an over-allotment possible depending on demand. It already has commitments in place from investors for two-thirds of the amount it seeks to raise. Listing is scheduled for Wednesday next week.
Deutsche Bank shares fall
Shares in Germany’s biggest lender Deutsche Bank fell as much as 6 percent as the Frankfurt market opened yesterday, hours after the bank announced it would raise cash by issuing new shares. Shares in the bank were down 5.4 percent to trade at 18.1 euros just before 8:15am, making Deutsche the worst performer on the DAX Index of leading German companies. Sapped by heavy losses, Deutsche on Sunday said it would deepen a long-running restructuring to focus on home market Germany and raise 8 billion euros in new capital.
Copper poised to drop
Copper is poised to drop this year as higher US interest rates and elections in Europe curb demand, according to the chairman of China’s second-largest refiner of the metal. Prices would end the year lower than where they started, Jiangxi Copper Co (江西銅業股份) chairman Li Baomin (李保民) said on Sunday in an interview in Beijing as the government announced growth plans for this year. Jiangxi Copper plans to increase production to the maximum capacity of 1.36 million tonnes, compared with about 1.2 million tonnes last year, he said. Copper would average 45,000 yuan to 46,000 yuan (US$6,528 to US$6,673) per tonne this year, Li said. Global demand still looks set to exceed production, with China’s consumption growth at 6 percent this year, Li said.
Budget to target productivity
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is to use tomorrow’s budget to allocate more than ￡550 million from the National Productivity Fund to boost innovation and technology. The funds are to support work in areas including electric vehicles, robotics and artificial intelligence, the British Treasury said in a briefing note. Hammond is also to set out details on work to boost 5G mobile phone coverage in Britain.