Finsbury CEO outlines growth

first_imgThe export of branded cakes has helped Finsbury Food Group to a 12.1% increase in sales in its cake division, as the exchange rate has benefited its Lightbody Europe (LBE) business.Finsbury CEO John Duffy told British Baker that the firm had posted “pretty respectable” full-year financials in what had been a difficult trading market. “It has not been the easiest few years for us. We have had to take stock and rethink some plans, but the figures for the end of this financial year have demonstrated that some of the hard work over the previous few years has started to come through in terms of front-line growth.”The manufacturer of cake, bread and morning goods achieved a 12.6% increase in group revenue in its preliminary results for the year to 2 July 2011. Adjusted profit before tax was up 8.3% to £5.8m, while group revenue stood at £189.6m.Sales in its cake division hit the £139.6m mark, while its bread and free-from sales continued to see a good rate growth, up 14.2% to £50m.Duffy said that, in part, the growth in its cake division had come about through refocusing on its licensed brands, higher-value celebration cakes and premium own-label.“We demonstrated to our customers, through a bit of innovation and repositioning, as well as the category management work we’ve invested in, that consumers didn’t just want a lot of cheap products to choose from; they wanted good value, but they also wanted good products and innovation.”Approximately 50% of the sales growth in its cake division was generated by LBE, a 50%-owned subsidiary export operation. “LBE has been doing fairly steady business for the past 10 years, exporting licensed celebration cakes, such as Thorntons, and little niche UK products into Europe. It has continued to grow in the past 12 months, and we’ve also slightly tweaked the business model,” said Duffy. “We found there were a number of branded players in the UK that wanted to export their products, so we’re now doing that job for them through LBE.”The cakes are mainly exported to France, Benelux and Scandinavian countries, but LBE has also exported relatively small volumes to the US and Japan in the past year. Duffy said it was certainly an area the group would look to grow, especially if the exchange rate was favourable.Finsbury also added the Disney small cakes licence to its portfolio, which has already seen the launch of a number of new products.The firm said the increased revenue within bread and free-from had come from its investment in the Vogels brand, as well as the ongoing growth of its fresh free-from range of both Genius branded products and own-label. Cranks performed well, said Duffy, and since named in CASH’s recent bread report as a brand that contained high levels of salt, he said the firm had accelerated its salt reduction programme in order to meet the 2012 salt targets. However, he said its breads were made to ‘real bread’ standards, and he would not want to reduce the amount of salt to levels where “nasties” would need to be added the bread instead.Duffy said a noticeable trend, of late, had been that consumers had become more deal-orientated. However, he said they were also still quite discerning about what products they chose, and were still interested in what their food was made from and how healthy it was, for example. “They want real value, and are perhaps more critical, but are willing to pay for it.”He added: “The macro environment seems to be getting tougher, and we’re clearly very concerned about the possibility of a double-dip recession, and the effect those worries are having on consumers’ minds. All we can do is keep providing choice.”>>Bread and cakes drive Finsbury>>Finsbury and Genius strike new deallast_img read more


PKH mandate catalyses new BlueBay high yield ESG bond fund

first_imgThe new fund will also apply BlueBay’s integration and engagement strategies in addition to screening.In a statement, Mariann Bendriss, chief financial officer at PKH, said that the fund believes the incorporation of ESG into investing is important for an asset owner with long-term liabilities, as such factors can have economic and investment impacts.“Viewed in this way, ESG is good long-term risk management,” she added. “In the process, we can also play a role in contributing to sustainable development, something which is also of interest to our beneficiaries.”PKH is a pension fund in Norway that counts hospitals and employees in the Oslo region as customers and members. It has six employees and uses larger external partners to deliver on investment advisory and reporting, actuarial estimates, accounting and pensions services for its 67,000 members.Ngo said the development of the fund illustrated the development of interactions between asset managers and asset owners, which she said would become more collaborative. “It was a three-way partnership process really,” she said, including consultant Mercer. She noted that PKH had shown an “openness and willingness to consider other approaches”.Developing a product with a clear focus that could also be consistent with the philosophy and approach taken by NBIM – a highly influential investor within Norway – was important for BlueBay, added Ngo.The new ESG high yield bond fund is part of a growing trend of ESG-minded investing in fixed income, and generally in asset classes beyond equities.  BlueBay has operated an ESG investment risk management framework since 2013, applicable to all its assets (US$50bn, €47bn). The ESG investment strategies it applies as standard are integration and engagement, with negative screening based on corporate credit’s involvement in controversial weapons. PKH, the NOK22bn (€2.4bn) Norwegian pension fund for health authorities, has seeded a global high yield environmental, social, and governance (ESG) themed bond fund run by BlueBay Asset Management.The fund was kicked off by a mandate from PKH for an ESG strategy for their global bond portfolio, according to My-Linh Ngo, ESG specialist at BlueBay.The main requirement from PKH was for the fund to comply with the exclusion criteria applied by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) for Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global, Ngo told IPE. It covers companies involved with controversial weapons, tobacco, and coal-based energy.“From BlueBay we’ve contributed our own controversial weapons criteria and UN Global Compact screen,” added Ngo. “We wanted to contribute strategies that complement the Norges Bank ones.”last_img read more


Alvarez, Tacloban quickly put PVL debut loss behind

first_img‘Stop romanticizing Pinoy resilience’ Shola Alvarez said the Fighting Warays were still adjusting with each other, especially to imports Amporn Hyapha and Sasiwimol Sangpan, after their limited time together prior to the league’s opener on Sunday.“Coach Nes (Pamilar) told us that we should just set aside this first game because this is already over and we can’t do anything about the result,” said Alvarez in Filpino at Filoil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownTacloban were subjected to a bitter opening day loss to PayMaya, 25-8, 33-31, 25-20, in a game that featured a shy bunch of Fighting Warays trying to not step on each others toes.The Fighting Warays, who started training as a complete team midway through April, then found their groove in the second set although they eventually fizzled out in the third. Alvarez, who played against Jovielyn Prado and Regine Arocha in the NCAA, said her familiarity with the other players helped her adjust quickly and it took them just the second set to sort things out.“During the first set it was obvious we were still adjusting with each other, especially with the imports,” said Alvarez, who had seven points. “Then we talked right before the second set and that we should be more vocal on the floor.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ P16.5-M worth of aid provided for Taal Volcano eruption victims — NDRRMC Jo Koy draws ire for cutting through Cebu City traffic with ‘wang-wang’ Green group flags ‘overkill’ use of plastic banderitas in Manila Sto. Niño feast In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’center_img Truck driver killed in Davao del Sur road accident Scientists seek rare species survivors amid Australia flames Wright delivers winner as Phoenix upstages Magnolia Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games 2019: Charly Suarez stops Burmese foe, advances to boxing semi PLAY LIST 03:22SEA Games 2019: Charly Suarez stops Burmese foe, advances to boxing semi01:02Fans fill up Philippine Arena for SEA Games opening03:30PH’s Rogen Ladon boxing flyweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES It wasn’t the best of welcomes for Tacloban in the Premier Volleyball League Reinforced Conference, but that start was a mistake the team is willing to immediately brush off.ADVERTISEMENT Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water recedinglast_img read more


SA scientist wins award for TB research

first_img Her work as a mentor to students engaged in TB research also contributed to winning the prize. “Valerie’s work is characterised by an incredible ability to engage with students in research, through supervising and coaching. The way she does this widely acknowledged,” Cossart said. “For me, the most gratifying part of it is that the award committee recognised my commitment to, and passion for, developing people,” Mizrahi said. “I’ve trained so many young scientists – and this award is for them.” The prize money will be used to hire senior researchers with a focus on chemical biology and bioinformatics, as well as invest in laboratory equipment. “Given the shortage of career opportunities for outstanding early-career who are interested in pursuing a career in biomedical research in South Africa, I believe this would be a great investment,” she said. SAinfo reporter 23 April 2013 South African scientist Valerie Mizrahi from the University of Cape Town’s Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine has been awarded the Grand Prix Christophe Merieux Prize by the Institute de France in Paris for her tuberculosis research. The institute’s Academy of Sciences presents the annual €500 000 (approximately R6-million) prize to talented scientists and for innovative research projects. “What characterises Valerie Mizrahi’s work is not only her excellent research on Mycobacterium tuberculosis and tuberculosis, but also her very active involvement in the tuberculosis community in South Africa, on the African continent and internationally,” Academy of Sciences member, Pascale Cossart, said in a statement. The award was announced last week, and the prize will be conferred to Mizrahi in Paris on 5 June.last_img read more


South African scholars to study in China

first_img25 August 2015China beckons to 53 scholarship recipients, who have landed an opportunity to study in the eastern nation. They were excited about the chance, they said at a pre-departure orientation yesterday at Unisa (University of South Africa) in Pretoria.The Department of Higher Education and Training receives scholarships from various foreign governments that are targeted at South African youth to advance the skills development agenda.Time of possibilityKgaugelo Mpyana said he was looking forward to his degree in architecture at the Beijing University of Technology.“This is a great opportunity for me because China is the generation of great innovation,” he said. “I will get an opportunity to learn from the best at no cost at all.”Ofentse Tyawo was thrilled that her dreams to study in China were finally being realised. She will be studying an undergraduate in biological sciences at East China University.Both students will also do a year-long Mandarin course, as well as learn more about Chinese culture.Mutual respect“This is an opportunity of a lifetime; grab it with both hands,” advised Higher Education and Training Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana. “We are proud that you have been selected and that you have shown bravery because it’s not an easy decision to make to go study abroad.”He encouraged students to represent South Africa well in China. “Respect the cultural norms and values of China; make sure that you adjust to them.”Li Song, China’s deputy ambassador to South Africa, congratulated the scholarship recipients and thanked them for choosing to study in his country. “I believe that through their hard work, these young talents will come back and contribute to the rainbow nation after their successful completion of their studies in China,” Song said.“South Africa has the most overseas Chinese students in Africa,” he added. There were 1 100 South African students studying in China and more than 2 400 Chinese students studying in South Africa.More than 180 applications were received for the scholarships.Source: SAnews.govlast_img read more


Bloom Box Rekindles Excitement About Fuel Cells

first_imgThe high-profile roll-out of the highly secretive Bloom Box fuel cell, on CBS’s 60 Minutes in February, ushered in a new round of excitement about fuel cells.Fuel cells have been around for over 50 years. They are, in essence, chemical batteries that churn out electricity as long as a fuel, such as hydrogen or natural gas, is fed in at the other end. They have been a mainstay of power generation in NASA’s space program for decades and have slowly been making inroads for more earthly applications.While President George W. Bush and many others have touted hydrogen fuel cells as the “energy source of the future,” a fuel cell is not an energy source at all, but rather a device that converts a fuel into electrical energy–and it does so quite efficiently and cleanly.One of the problems with most fuel cells is that they require pure hydrogen for their operation, and hydrogen is a difficult material to store and transport. Being our lightest element, hydrogen has to be compressed to achieve a reasonable power density, so you’re usually dealing with very high pressures in storing it. Compressed hydrogen is explosive and can be quite dangerous.What Bloom Energy has created with its Bloom Box, according to CEO K.R. Sridhar, Ph.D., is a novel fuel cell that doesn’t rely on rare-earth elements, such as platinum (as do most other fuel cells) and does not require pure hydrogen for its operation. The company makes thin ceramic wafers out of quartz sand, coats the wafers on both sides with special proprietary materials, and stacks these with layers of an affordable metal alloy between. A four-inch stack of these layered cells and metal will generate one kilowatt (kW) of power when a hydrogen-rich fuel, such as natural gas, and oxygen are forced through it. Sridhar claimed on 60 Minutes that two of these stacks could power a typical American home, while a single stack could power four homes in his native India.Dr. Sridhar is a physicist who previously led NASA’s efforts to develop a system to generate oxygen for a mission to Mars. When that project was eliminated, he kept working on his invention, but reversed the process to create a “solid-oxide” fuel cell. In this process, oxygen is used rather than produced and electricity is generated. His work has been financed, starting in 2002, by about $400 million, most prominently from the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers (famous for recognizing the potential of–and funding–such Silicon Valley success stories as Netscape, Amazon, and Google). Until February, though, the Bloom Energy’s technology was shrouded in secrecy. The February 21 edition of 60 Minutes removed that veil of secrecy with great fanfare.The first commercial Bloom Boxes were installed at a Google facility in late 2008, and test installations have now been completed for WalMart, eBay, FedEx, Staples, and more than a dozen other companies. Most of these fuel cells are powered by natural gas, though the units at eBay’s headquarters–enough to provide 15% of the power needs–use landfill gas (a mix of methane, carbon dioxide, and other gases). These 100 kW units cost $750,000, or 7,500/kW of capacity, which is not a bargain in today’s distributed-generation market–but costs are expected to drop as production scales up. We’ll see how that goes.According to an article in Greentech Media, The Bloom Box is 56% efficient, which is far higher than most natural gas generators, but waste heat is not captured, as it is from some competing fuel cells–a number of which have been around for years.The Bloom Box isn’t the only “second-generation” fuel cell to come along recently (though it is certainly the most prominent). The Freemont, California company Oorja Protonics, makes methanol fuel cells that are initially being sold as power supplies for electric forklifts. Their OorjaPak Model III holds five gallons of liquid methanol (a type of alcohol) that will power a small forklift for two 8-hour shifts and can be refueled in about a minute–while standard electric forklifts can take up to four hours to recharge batteries.Some of these other fuel cell manufacturers are actively pursuing the combined heat and power (CHP) market, in which both electricity and useful heat are being delivered. While the Oorja fuel cell is only 35-37% efficient, according to Greentech Media, by capturing the waste heat, overall efficiency can be boosted to 70-75%. Panasonic and ClearEdge Power offer residential-scale CHP fuel cells with overall efficiencies of 80% and nearly 90%, respectively, according to the same article.I am excited about fuel cells as energy conversion systems that cleanly and efficiently produce electricity (and often heat) from an energy input, such as natural gas. We need to remember, though, that these are not renewable energy systems–since they have to have a fuel source–and they are not likely to revolutionize our power generation infrastructure quickly. But if they can generate electricity from natural gas and other hydrogen-rich fuels more affordably and more efficiently than other generation sources, they can be an important part of the many-faceted energy future we need.I invite you to share comments on this blog. Are fuel cells going to be the next great thing to come along?— Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds.last_img read more


Despite the attention, Kobe Paras remains cool in first Gilas stint

first_imgChurch, environmentalists ask DENR to revoke ECC of Quezon province coal plant View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ FEU Auditorium’s 70th year celebrated with FEU Theater Guild’s ‘The Dreamweavers’ El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ MOST READ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Kobe Paras and the rest of the Gilas Pilipinas team arrive Friday afternoon for the Jones Cup Invitational. Photo by Musong CastilloTAIPEI – With a headset on and partially covering his face with a yellow baseball cap, this 19-year-old many have tagged to be the next big Philippine cage talent lay in the pre-departure area of Eva Air on Friday afternoon looking as cool as everyone else in the young Gilas Pilipinas 5.0 crew.Introduced by a team official to members of the media that will cover the 39th Jones Cup starting Saturday here, Kobe Paras grabbed the Inquirer’s hand with both of his for a firm handshake and quickly obliged an ambush interview that explained why he looked as collected as he did.ADVERTISEMENT Trump strips away truth with hunky topless photo tweetcenter_img National Coffee Research Development and Extension Center brews the 2nd National Coffee Education Congress LATEST STORIES “I don’t let that bother me at all,” he said as a number of Filipino fans recognized him and asked for selfies while doing the interview.Paras said that he is ready to suit up in at least three straight tournaments for the Philippines until the end of August and show everyone what the fuzz has been about ever since he flew back from France after the Fiba 3X3 tournament and headed straight to Gilas camp.“I’m excited to play,” Paras, a strong candidate for the Fiba Asia Championship and Southeast Asian Games teams, said. “I think I am ready to play the highest level of basketball – and that is with Gilas.”Now with Cal State Northridge after withdrawing from UCLA and Creighton, Paras spent a lot of time talking with reporters, never once showing uneasiness and doing so with great sincerity.He confessed to vaguely remembering his father, PBA great Benjie Paras, play in the pros and even asked the scribes to tell him stories of his old man’s national team career.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Amid stong start, Robinson reminds Lyceum to be ‘ready, humble, hungry’ “I have none,” Paras said when asked what his expectations are as he sees action as a National player in a men’s tournament for the first time. “I have no expectations, because every time I play, I leave it all on the floor and give it my all.“I take it quarter by quarter and I play to win,” he added.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsParas more or less knows that a lot of eyes will be on him starting with the Filipinos’ clash with Canada 150 at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Taipei Peace International Basketball Hall.And at such a young age, Paras said that he has gotten used to all the attention. The younger Paras listened with gusto and obviously wants to be in the national team program for the long haul.And as a 6-foot-5 swingman with the athletic ability rarely seen for Filipinos his size, Kobe Paras could come up with the impact for the National team and in the PBA in the near future, much in the same way his dad did in 1989 when he became the pro league’s first and only Rookie-MVP.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextlast_img read more