FB News

FB Roundup: Dyson, Ferrero, Henkel

By James Beech

James Dyson says entrepreneurialism and wealth creation will help Covid-19 economic recovery

Family business founder Sir James Dyson says entrepreneurialism and wealth creation should be encouraged to recover the economy from Covid-19 as he announced his Dyson Institute will be permitted to award its own degrees for the first time.

The billionaire inventor (pictured) of the eponymous bag-less vacuum cleaner and hair and hand dryer technology company said he thought the UK should talk less about pubs reopening and more about how the country would return people to work and get entrepreneurs and businesses active again.

“You need the interaction of people to make progress,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this week.

“I’m 73—when I come into work every day I’m learning all the time, we’re all learning from each other, and you can’t train people and learn if you’re sitting at home.”

In announcing the Dyson Institute had become the first higher education institution to be granted New Degree Awarding Powers from September 2021, the family business founder said the Dyson degree was more than a job and more than a degree.

“We are investing in them, employing them and backing them with a supportive academic and work environment which encourages risk taking. They are not tied to Dyson, though I hope they chose to remain at the core of our engineering team long after graduation and that they become our future leaders.”

Dyson, ranked in first place in The Sunday Times Rich List 2020, said his company recognised in late January and early February its shops and factories were going to close as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak. It decided to sell direct, which meant changing how it did business.

In July, the Singapore-headquartered company cut 600 jobs out of 4,000 in the UK and 300 out of 10,000 worldwide, mostly in retail and customer service roles.

“Unfortunately, quite a number of jobs were made redundant,” Dyson told the BBC.

“We didn’t need people to sell to shops and the process of selling to shops.”

Ferrero family takes the biscuit at Fox’s as acquisition spree continues

The Ferrero family business is consolidating its position in the sweet snacks market by acquiring British heritage brand Fox’s Biscuits for £246 million ($318 million), its second European biscuit acquisition within 12 months.

The Wakefield-based 2 Sisters Food Group confirmed this week it had entered into an agreement to sell its Fox’s biscuit manufacturing sites at Batley and Kirkham while it kept its third site at Uttoxeter which produced own-label biscuits for retailers. Formal completion was expected at the end of October 2020.

Ferrero Group is the world’s third largest chocolate and confectionery business. The €10.7 billion ($12.6 billion) Italian group has diversified into new sectors as it expanded its global portfolio under the leadership of billionaire Giovanni Ferrero (pictured), 56, youngest son of the late Michele, creator of the hazelnut spread Nutella.

Ferrero Group was now the second biggest player in the global sweet biscuits market. Ferrero affiliate CTH Invest took Denmark-based baked snacks maker Kelsen Group off the hands of the Campbell Soup Company for $300 million in 2019. Ferrero brought into its fold the Belgian luxury biscuit brand Delacre from UK-based Pladis for an undisclosed sum in 2016.

Ferrero’s ambitions were not restricted to Europe. The group acquired cereal maker Kellogg’s fruit and snack brands for $1.3 billion in 2019.

Ferrero’s deal for Fox’s Biscuits, founded as a family business in 1853, echoed its earlier purchase of another British household brand, the former family chocolatier business Thorntons, for £112 million ($145 million) in 2015.

Observers said the group’s strategy was to consolidate its position in the market of “sweets consumed outside meals”, a market buoyed by more Britons working from home due to coronavirus restrictions.

Henkel charts fourth quarter recovery without lockdowns

Henkel anticipates its business in the upcoming fourth quarter will lapse below last year, but will not slump if lockdowns do not return.

The German fifth-generation consumer goods group made assumptions about its industrial demand and business activity in its new revised outlook for fiscal 2020 this week.

The €38 billion ($44.8 billion) family-controlled group’s cautiously upbeat forecast was delivered as it reported strong organic sales growth of 3.9% reached to €5 billion ($5.9 billion) in the third quarter.

All units in adhesives, hair and beauty, and laundry and homecare recovered compared to the second quarter. The family group put the recovery down to its diversified portfolio with successful brands and innovative technologies. There were also “catch-up effects” from the second quarter when lockdowns on consumers occurred.

Henkel recorded total sales of about €14.5 billion in the first nine months of 2020, an overall decline in organic sales of 2.1% from the period the year before. Henkel now expected organic sales growth of between -1% and -2% in fiscal 2020.

“Despite strict cost control, the earnings development in the full year will be relatively more affected than the sales side, due to the significant decline in demand in the industrial business and the hair salon business, as well as higher growth investments in marketing, advertising, digitalisation and IT,” Henkel reported.

The group’s new outlook for the rest of the year hinged on how global infection rates developed and the restrictions placed to mitigate the pandemic.

“In this context, Henkel assumes that there will be no far-reaching lockdowns in the core regions essential for the company in the fourth quarter of 2020.”

Henkel said it would continue to increase its investments in marketing and advertising, as well as in digitalisation and IT.

Among the family members involved in Henkel is Dr Simone Bagel-Trah (pictured), chairwoman of the shareholders’ committee and supervisory board, who is the great-great-granddaughter of founder Fritz Henkel.

Top Stories