Business briefs

Carlsberg blames poor performance on weather – Danish Nets move to buy Luottokunta – Pension fund buying stake in ISS

Despite a boost from the Euro 2012 football tournament, Carlsberg failed to fulfil its quarterly profit forecasts, blaming bad weather. A 5 percent drop in consumption across western Europe heavily outweighed the boost in Polish beer sales during the Euro 2012 tournament. “This [fall] was a little more than expected with Euro 2012 taking place in Q2 and was driven by very bad weather,” Carlsberg said. The company also reported 1 percent growth in Russia despite rigid alcohol regulation and high beer taxes designed to tackle alcohol abuse. Carlsberg has keept its full-year earnings prediction: an operating profit of 9.82 billion kroner, matching last years’ performance. The Danish based brewer, the fourth-largest in the world, is responsible for many brands such as Carlsberg, Tuborg and Baltika. “There is an effect of the weather, but otherwise this could be a sign that the economic crisis is felt on sales of the more expensive brands.” Brand analyst Stig Nymann told Reuters.

Danish payment solutions company, Nets, looks set to buy Finnish card payment service Luottokunta for 170 million euros. Luottokunta is responsible for all Visa and Mastercard transactions in Finland. It also produces the Lounasseteli luncheon vouchers. The merger will not take place until it has received approval at the Nets AGM and from the Finnish Finanacial Supervisory Authoirty. Nets employs over 2,200 staff in the Nordic countries, operating across a total of 12 countries. In 2011, combined net sales for Nets and Luottokunta neared 850 million euros, whilst they oversaw close to five billion card transactions. Luottokunta cheif executive Heikki Kapanen, said: “All the services will reamin as they are.” Talking about the future of the nearly 500-strong Helsinki workforce Kapanen said: “In time the change will affect us all, but in what way, nobody knows at this stage.”

The Kirk Kristiansen family will partner with a Canadian pension fund to invest 500 million euros to acquire a quarter of ISS, a Danish facility services provider. Kirkbi Invest, a holding company investing on behalf of the family, said the investment will give them a 26 percent stake in the company. Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, a pension fund managing the assets of 300,000 active and retired teachers, is providing 342 million euros – most of the investment. ISS helps companies manage facilities as diverse as cleaning, catering and security, and is aiming to reduce debt before an initial public offering. The company operates across 50 countries, employs 530,000 staff and reported nearly 13 billion dollars of revenue. “[ISS’s] management is experienced, with deep industry knowledge and has put the company on the right strategic path,” Jo Taylor, the vice-president of Teachers’ Private Capital said. “We look forward to helping ISS expand.”

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