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.


EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

Updated 23 June 2018
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EU to respond to any US auto tariff move: report

  • Trump threatened to impose 20 percent tariff
  • Shares in carmakers slip on trade war fears

PARIS: The European Union will respond to any US move to raise tariffs on cars made in the bloc, a senior European Commission official said, the latest comments in an escalating trade row.
US President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to impose a 20 percent tariff on all imports of EU-assembled cars, a month after his administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports posed a national security threat.
“If they decide to raise their import tariffs, we’ll have no choice, again, but to react,” EU Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen told French newspaper Le Monde.
“We don’t want to fight (over trade) in public via Twitter. We should end the escalation,” he said in the comments published on Saturday.
The European Autos Stocks Index fell on Friday after Trump’s tariff threat. Shares US carmakers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. also dropped.
“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the US Build them here!” Trump tweeted.
The US Commerce Department has a deadline of February 2019 to investigate whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to US national security.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday the department aimed to wrap up the probe by late July or August. The Commerce Department plans to hold two days of public comments in July on its investigation of auto imports.
Trump has repeatedly singled out German auto imports to the United States for criticism.
Trump told carmakers at a meeting in the White House on May 11 that he was planning to impose tariffs of 20 or 25 percent on some imported vehicles and sharply criticized Germany’s automotive trade surplus with the United States.
The United States currently imposes a 2.5 percent tariff on imported passenger cars from the EU and a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 percent tariff on imported US cars.
The tariff proposal has drawn sharp condemnation from Republican lawmakers and business groups. A group representing major US and foreign automakers has said it is “confident that vehicle imports do not pose a national security risk.”
The US Chamber of Commerce said US auto production had doubled over the past decade, and said tariffs “would deal a staggering blow to the very industry it purports to protect and would threaten to ignite a global trade war.”
German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. BMW is one of South Carolina’s largest employers, with more than 9,000 workers in the state.
The United States in 2017 accounted for about 15 percent of worldwide Mercedes-Benz and BMW brand sales. It accounts for 5 percent of Volkswagen’s VW brand sales and 12 percent of its Audi brand sales.