News briefs: Wrigley, Hershey, China

By Karen Willmer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wrigley, Chocolate

More stories, in a nutshell: Wrigley
strengthens European focus; Hershey enters credit agreement; and
further problems for Chinese products.

Wrigley strengthens European focus​ Wrigley has appointed Albert Manzone as its new group vice president and managing director for Western Europe, the company said this week. "Albert's world-class business savvy and leadership are important assets to Wrigley as the company continues to maximise its strengths in Euroe and builds on our successes there,"​ said Peter Hempstead a Wrigley senior vice president. "He's a great fit for our strategic focus in the region and will help accelerate our growth as a premier global confectionery company." ​Wrigley said last month that sales within Europe increased by 23 per cent to $667m for the second quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, following "focussed investments"​ in these areas. In January this year, Wrigley increased its presence in the European chocolate sector with the $300m (€232.5m) acquisition of 80 per cent of Russian premium chocolate maker A. Korkunov. The future product and marketing plans follows Wrigley's recent restructuring of its supply chain, saving the company $20m (€14.5m) during 2007, and its wishes to further push its presence within Europe. Hershey sweetens its future ​US-based chocolate giant Hershey has entered into a new short-term credit agreement to borrow $300m, the company said yesterday. Hershey entered an agreement in December last year in order to borrow up to $1.1bn. In its latest results for the quarter ending 1 July 2007, Hershey said its margins had been affected by the high price of raw materials, dropping to 3.1 per cent, compared to 17.3 per cent for the same period in 2006. "Due to seasonal working capital needs, share repurchases, and other business activities, the company expects short-term borrowings to exceed $1.1bn from time to time during the next twelve months,"​ Hershey said last week. Last month the company said the investment behind its core brands had been "beneficial", but said it will continue to focus on the dark and premium chocolate segments with new products and product development due to higher sales growth within this segment. Worm your way out of this one… ​Counterfeit Ferrero Roche chocolates in China were found to contain worms, moths, and larvae, according to international news this week. Reports claim the products were contaminated during the manufacturing process. Worms were also found in wooden packaging for fish oils and children's supplements, according to Reuters. This is another blow to China's exports following recent health scares with the country's products. However, China released a statement to the World Health Organisation this week defending its food safety. "The Chinese government is willing to increase information exchange and communication with international society and other countries in line with its attitude of openness and transparency,"​ an official release stated. This month China announced that samples from every food shipment to the US and other countries will be tested for safety under new requirements by officials from 1 September.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Gum, Hershey, Emerging Markets

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