Vimto maker cautions on Mideast sales

John Noel Nichols founded Vimto in 1908. (Shutterstock)
Updated 20 December 2017
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Vimto maker cautions on Mideast sales

LONDON: The UK producer of Vimto has warned of tougher trading conditions in the Middle East.
The soft drinks company Nichols said that the the war in Yemen has led to a supply disruption which could impact sales.
While sales in the 12 months to December are still forecast to rise, the company now expects its adjusted pretax profit to be in line with last year’s results, according to a filing on the London Stock Exchange.
Nichols said it forecast low single-digit profit growth next year due to the Yemen crisis as well concerns about a possible slowdown in the Saudi Arabian economy.
It said sales to the Middle East in 2018 “are likely to be less than previously expected.”
Vimto has long been popular across the Middle East – especially during Ramadan when sales have tended to rise significantly.
Elsewhere, the company said its Africa business has been “excellent” with full-year revenue forecast to exceed last year’s results by 20 percent.
It said the “strong growth trend” in the region is likely to continue in 2018.
As of November, UK Vimto sales were up nine percent year-on-year.
The company said it was ready for the UK government’s sugar levy, with Vimto and its Feel Good fruit drinks already below the required threshold.
The levy places a limit on the amount of sugar that soft drinks in the UK can contain, and it is due to come into force next April.
Nichols will be posting the group’s preliminary results on March 1, 2018.


Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

Updated 14 December 2018
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Libya’s National Oil against paying ‘ransom’ to reopen El Sharara field

  • Ransom payment would set dangerous precedent
  • NOC declared force majeure on exports on Monday

BENGHAZI: Libya’s state-owned National Oil Corp. (NOC) said it was against paying a ransom to an armed group that has halted crude production at the country’s largest oilfield.
“Any attempt to pay a ransom to the armed militia which shut down El Sharara (oilfield) would set a dangerous precedent that would threaten the recovery of the Libyan economy,” NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said in a statement on the company’s website.
NOC on Monday declared force majeure on exports from the 315,000-barrels-per-day oilfield after it was seized at the weekend by a local militia group.
The nearby El-Feel oilfield, which uses the same power supply as El Sharara, was still producing normally, a spokesman for NOC said, without giving an output figure. The field usually pumps around 70,000 bpd.
Since 2013 Libya has faced a wave of blockages of oilfields and export terminals by armed groups and civilians trying to press the country’s weak state into concessions.
Officials have tended to end such action by paying off protesters who demand to be added to the public payroll.
At El Sharara, in southern Libya, a mix of state-paid guards, civilians and tribesmen have occupied the field, camping there since Saturday, protesters and oil workers said. The protesters work in shifts, with some going home at night.
NOC has evacuated some staff by plane, engineers at the oilfield said. A number of sub-stations away from the main field have been vacated and equipment removed.
The occupiers are divided, with members of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) indicating they would end the blockade in return for a quick cash payment, oil workers say. The PFG has demanded more men be added to the public payroll.
The tribesmen have asked for long-term development funds, which might take time.
Libya is run by two competing, weak governments. Armed groups, tribesmen and normal Libyans tend to vent their anger about high inflation and a lack of infrastructure on the NOC, which they see as a cash cow booking billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues annually.