This Food Company Continues To Get Healthier

Documents: Charles Taylor enjoys playing tennis in The Hague, fears transfer to Britain

KEY RATING DRIVERS The downgrade of the UK’s sovereign ratings primarily reflects a weaker economic and fiscal outlook and hence the upward revision to Fitch’s medium-term projections for UK budget deficits and government debt. Despite the loss of its ‘AAA’ status, the UK’s extremely strong credit profile is reflected in its ‘AA+’ rating and the Stable Outlook. – Fitch now forecasts that general government gross debt (GGGD) will peak at 101% of GDP in 2015-16 (equivalent to 86% of GDP for public sector net debt, PSND) and will only gradually decline from 2017-18. This compares with Fitch’s previous projection for GGGD peaking at 97% and declining from 2016-17 and the ‘AAA’ median of around 50%. – Fitch previously commented that failure to stabilise debt below 100% of GDP and place it on a firm downward path towards 90% of GDP over the medium term would likely trigger a rating downgrade. Despite the UK’s strong fiscal financing flexibility underpinned by its own currency with reserve currency status and the long average maturity of public debt, the fiscal space to absorb further adverse economic and financial shocks is no longer consistent with a ‘AAA’ rating. – Higher than previously projected budget deficits and debt primarily reflects the weak growth performance of the UK economy in recent years, partly due to headwinds of private and public sector deleveraging and the eurozone crisis. Fitch has revised down its forecast economic growth in 2013 and 2014 to 0.8% and 1.8%, respectively, from 1.5% and 2.0% at the time of the last review of the UK’s sovereign ratings in September 2012. The UK economy is not expected to reach its 2007 level of real GDP until 2014, underscoring the weakness of the economic recovery. – Despite significant progress in reducing public sector net borrowing (PSNB from a peak of 11.2% of GDP (GBP159bn) in 2009-10, the budget deficit remains 7.4% of GDP (excluding the effect of the transfer of Royal Mail pensions) and is not expected to fall below 6% of GDP and GBP100bn until the end of the current parliament term. The slower pace of deficit reduction means that the next government will be required to implement substantial spending reductions (and/or tax increases) if public debt is to be stabilised and reduced over the medium term. The Stable Outlook on the UK’s sovereign ratings reflects the following factors. – Under Fitch’s baseline economic and fiscal scenario, which assumes a continued policy commitment to reducing the underlying budget deficit and medium-term annual growth potential of 2%-2.25%, government debt gradually falls as a share of national income in the latter half of the decade.

Alcoholic Drinks in the United Kingdom: New Research Report Available at Fast Market Research

Last Thursday, United Kingdom Justice Minister Jeremy Wright announced that Taylor would serve out his sentence in a British detention facility, despite Taylors request that he be transferred to Rwanda. In a letter dated that same day and included in the documents released by Taylors defense team, the convicted war criminal detailed his fears for his personal safety and the distance from his family should he not be permitted to return to Africa. He said there were a significant number of individuals of Sierra Leonean background in British prisons who might attack him because his name is now associated with horrendous atrocities. He referred specifically to the case of Radislav Krstic, a Bosnian Serb war criminal who was assaulted by three inmates at a high-security prison in northern England in May 2010. In short, incarceration in the United Kingdom will likely and very soon lead to me being seriously injured or killed, Taylor said. Taylor also expressed concern about his familys inability to visit him, citing the higher costs and visa complications facing Liberians traveling to the U.K. The consequence of these factors is that if I am incarcerated in the United Kingdom some family members will see me much less than if I were to serve my sentence in Rwanda. Many of my children would not be able to see me at all, Taylor said. A separate document states that Taylor has 15 children from various marriages, five of whom are younger than 10. He also has four grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A prison behavior profile sheds light on Taylors life in The Hague, saying he has maintained good relations with guards and his fellow inmates, though he does like to speak his mind when he believes his living conditions are being adversely affected. Mr. Taylor does not take part in creative lessons, but takes the opportunity to regularly enjoy fresh air and tries to keep himself as fit as the regime will allow, reads the May 2012 profile prepared by Paddy Craig, the chief custody officer at the International Criminal Court detention center. One of the sports he enjoys playing with his fellow detainees is tennis, an apparent holdover from his days in power. Among the features of his old mansion in Monrovia, White Flower, is a rundown tennis court where Taylor once played.

First, consider the company’s recent acquisitions: Ambiant Grocery Brands (major food supplier in UK) Ella’s Kitchen Group (premium organic baby food) BluePrint Cleanse (leader in cold-pressure juice category) Portfolio of packaged grocery brands from Premier Foods (Hartley’s, Sun-Pat, Gale’s, Rovertson’s, Frank Cooper’s) These acquisitions are sure to drive top-line growth. At the same time, Hain Celestial is divesting underperforming operations in order to maximize its bottom-line potential. For instance, in 2012, it sold its private-label chilled-ready meals business and disposed of its sandwich operations in the United Kingdom. Peer comparisons Based on the information above, it makes sense to see Hain Celestial performing well on both the top and bottom line: Top Line: HAIN EPS Diluted TTM data by YCharts You might have also noticed United Natural Foods’ (NASDAQ: UNFI ) strong performance on both the top and bottom line. This is yet another example of an organic and natural food company benefiting from industry trends. To further prove this point, United Natural Foods saw its fourth quarter net sales skyrocket 22.2% year over year, and its fourth quarter EPS improve 27.5%, thanks to top-line growth and gross margin improvement. As is often said on Wall Street, the winners keep winning. In other words, expect more of the same. For instance, United Natural Foods expects FY 2014 net sales to increase 11.8%-14%, and EPS to improve 10.1%-14.7%. Sysco (NYSE: SYY ) hasn’t been quite as impressive as Hain Celestial and United Natural Foods, but that’s to be expected given current industry trends. Despite competitive and macro headwinds, Sysco has still managed to grow its top line, and it’s constantly cutting costs to improve the bottom line.

HAIN Revenue TTM Chart

Sales of alcoholic drinks were restrained in 2012 as consumer confidence had yet to pick up. On-trade consumption continued to suffer as most consumers cut back on costs and focused on at- home entertainment due to it being cheaper. Off-trade volume consumption grew in many areas, largely as a result of price promotions, with value sales growth being somewhat… Euromonitor International’s Alcoholic Drinks in United Kingdom report offers a comprehensive guide to the size and shape of the market at a national level. It provides the latest retail sales data (2008-2012), allowing you to identify the sectors driving growth. It identifies the leading companies, the leading brands and offers strategic analysis of key factors influencing the market – be they legislative, distribution or pricing issues. Forecasts to 2017 illustrate how the market is set to change. Product coverage: Beer, Cider/Perry, RTDs/High-Strength Premixes, Spirits, Wine. Data coverage: market sizes (historic and forecasts), company shares, brand shares and distribution data. Reasons to Get This Report – Get a detailed picture of the Alcoholic Drinks market; – Pinpoint growth sectors and identify factors driving change; – Understand the competitive environment, the market’s major players and leading brands; – Use five-year forecasts to assess how the market is predicted to develop. About Fast Market Research Fast Market Research is an online aggregator and distributor of market research and business information. Representing the world’s top research publishers and analysts, we provide quick and easy access to the best competitive intelligence available. Our unbiased, expert staff will help you find the right research to fit your requirements and your budget. For more information about these or related research reports, please visit our website at http://www.fastmr.com or call us at 1.800.844.8156.

U.S. Relations With United Kingdom

Regarding Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, “Nationalist” and “Republican” groups seek a united Ireland that includes Northern Ireland, while “Unionists” and “Loyalists” want Northern Ireland to remain part of the United Kingdom. U.S. priorities continue to be supporting the peace process and devolved political institutions in Northern Ireland and encouraging the implementation of the U.S.-brokered 1998 Belfast Agreement, also known as the Good Friday Agreement, and the 2006 St. Andrews Agreement. U.S. Assistance to the United Kingdom The International Fund for Ireland (IFI), created in 1986, provides funding for projects to generate cross-community engagement and economic opportunity in Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom) and the border counties of Ireland. Since the IFI’s establishment, the U.S. Government has contributed over $500 million, roughly half of total IFI funding. The other major donor to IFI is the European Union. Bilateral Economic Relations The United Kingdom is a member of the European Union and a major international trading power. The United Kingdom is one of the largest markets for U.S.