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FB Roundup: Mars, VW, and UHNW cities

Mars moves in on healthy snacks, VW expects record sales despite emissions scandal, and high-density UHNW hubs

Mars moves in on healthy snacks

Mars, famous for its sweet treats, has invested in a $4 billion healthy snack maker, as it diversifies in the face of growing hostility towards sugar-laden foods.

The terms of the deal, which saw Mars acquire a minority stake in Kind, were not disclosed. The Financial Times quoted “people familiar with the matter” as saying Kind had a value of $4 billion and turned over $700 million a year.

Meanwhile Mars’ revenue was $35 billion last year, with the 1930-established company still controlled by the eponymous founding family. Third generation retired co-president Forrest E Mars Jr died aged 84 as the 27th richest person in the world just over a year ago.

Kind said in a statement it would remain independent and under the control of Daniel Lubetzky, the American-Mexican entrepreneur who founded it in 2004.

Part of Kind’s mantra is “if you can't pronounce an ingredient, it shouldn’t go into your body”.

The statement said: “Kind will provide Mars with a pioneering and trusted brand to anchor a newly-formed global health and wellness platform, while Mars will provide Kind with its proven international model to expand into new markets.”

VW expects record sales despite emissions scandal

Volkswagen is welcoming the prospect of record sales, despite the diesel emissions scandal which this week saw a former executive fined and jailed.

The German car-maker, controlled by the third generation of the Piech family, raised its profit forecast for 2020, claiming it would exceed its margin target of 2.5 to 3.5% this year, putting it close to the 4% it had laid out for three years’ time.

The backdrop to the sales success includes a scandal which has dogged VW since 2015, when the company admitted it had used software to cheat emissions tests, paying billions in fines.

This week saw former head of US compliance for Volkswagen, Oliver Schmidt, sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the decade-long conspiracy. He is the most senior executive to be prosecuted.

VW’s sunny forecast and rising share price has been partly attributed to the hiring of brand chief Herbert Deiss, right, who used the saga as a trigger to refocus and cut costs.

VW turned over €217 billion ($256 billion) in 2016. Its brands include Audi, Skoda, and Porsche.

The high-density UHNW hubs

Monaco, Geneva and Singapore have the highest proportion of ultra-high net worth people in the world, according to a new study.

The City Residential Index, by Wealth-X, shows the city state Monaco, pictured, has one UHNW resident per 56 people, while Geneva has one per 221, and Singapore one to 707. San Hose and San Francisco follow close behind.

New York and London had the highest total number of people Wealth-X categorised as ultra-wealthy—people worth more than $30 million—with 14,574 and 9,301 respectively.

The study includes all residential address of UHNW individuals, measuring their presence in various cities, without prejudice to whether they are official residents or not.


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