1 Kraft, Heinz to merge (Jill Treanor in The Guardian) A string of kitchen staples such as Heinz ketchup and Philadelphia are to become part of the same company, after a $100bn deal engineered by legendary investor Warren Buffett and the Brazilian private equity company 3G to buy Kraft Foods.
Buffett and 3G are paying nearly $40bn to acquire Kraft, and will merge it with HJ Heinz, which was bought two years ago by the same two investors. The deal will create the world’s fifth largest food and beverage company – but immediately raised concerns about jobs in the combined workforce of around 50,000.
The enlarged company will be known as the Kraft Heinz Company and will be the third largest food and beverage company in the US. 3G Capital is run by Brazilian former tennis player Jorge Lemann, who is now the country’s richest man with a fortune estimated at $25bn. Lemann, who also owns Burger King, built his empire on a beer business. He relocated to Switzerland after threats to kidnap his children.
2 ‘India is tough but rewarding’ (Issac John in Khaleej Times) The Indian economy is poised for a big take-off, but the business environment has to become more globally competitive to draw international businesses and foreign direct investments, said panelists at a seminar on the Indian budget held in Dubai.
The budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in February seeks to prepare the economy for a paradigm shift in the way of doing business to ensure enhanced global competitiveness across all sectors, speakers at the Times Now event entitled “The Indian Budget Impact 2015” said.
Anurag Bhushan, Consul-General of India to the UAE, quoted IMF managing director Christine Lagarde as saying “India is a bright spot in the cloudy global horizon”. He urged investors not to see the government budget as a one-day affair, but as work in progress. He said the new government in Delhi has done a great job in emphasising that economic management is a 365-day task, not confined to the day of the budget.
India ranked 142nd among the 189 countries surveyed for the latest World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report released in October 2014, a drop of two places from last year’s ranking. In the annual Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15 released by World Economic Forum, India slipped to 71st position — the lowest among Brics countries — in 2014. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that he would like to see India breaking into the top 50 in three years.
The panelists said new measures such as simplified bankruptcy laws, a mechanism for easier regulatory clearances and the revisiting of the public-private partnership model are all key to improving the ease of doing business.
3 Milk as dementia beater (Jenny Hope in Daily Mail) Drinking three glasses of milk a day could help stave off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, say researchers. A new US study shows a link between milk consumption and higher levels of a naturally-occurring antioxidant called glutathione in the brain in older, healthy adults.
The powerful antioxidant may minimise damage to brain cells from free radicals, destructive groups of atoms made as a by-product of metabolism that can damage cells. Antioxidants help to neutralise this type of oxidative stress in the body. The study was carried out at the University of Kansas Medical Center by associate professor of neurology In-Young Choi and Debra Sullivan, professor and chair of dietetics and nutrition.
The researchers found those who said they had drunk milk recently had more glutathione in their brains. Oxidative stress is known to be associated with a number of different diseases and conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and many other conditions, say the researchers.