Will AB-InBev's sale of a Mexican brewery to Constellation
appease U.S. regulators?
So this is AB-InBev's Plan B. On 14 February 2013, AB-InBev
announced that they will sell all of Grupo Modelo’s U.S.
business to wine company Constellation. As part of the deal, AB-InBev
have agreed to divest themselves of Modelo's newest brewery in
Mexico in Piedras Negras and grant perpetual licenses of
Modelo's brands to Constellation for USD 2.9 billion (EUR 2.2
billion). This is on top of the already agreed upon sale of the
50 percent stake Modelo holds in U.S. importer Crown for USD
1.85 billion (EUR 1.4 billion).
In effect, should this deal receive regulatory approval, the
Corona brand will have two owners: Constellation in the U.S. and
AB-InBev in Mexico plus the rest of the world. This resembles
the Foster's situation. Today Heineken own the Foster's brand in
Europe while SABMiller own it in all other markets.
Belgium - AB-InBev revises synergy projection from Modelo deal
On the face of it, AB-InBev’s executive suite does not seem to
be all that concerned that they will have to relinquish a
brewery and give up Modelo's U.S. business entirely to receive
regulatory approval for their USD 20 billion deal to buy the
rest of Mexico's Grupo Modelo that they don’t own yet.
As AB-InBev see it, they will receive USD 4.75 billion (EUR 3.6
billion) from Constellation for the remaining 50 percent
interest in U.S. importer Crown and the Piedras Negras brewery
and the perpetual brand licenses.
Ever bullish, AB-InBev actually said on 14 February 2013 that,
having done their sums again, they think they can actually
squeeze approximately USD 1.0 billion in synergies out of the
Modelo deal - up from their previous estimates of USD 600
million. About 40 to 45 percent of the synergies should be
realised from lowering costs, while 55 to 60 percent would come
from lower selling, general and administrative expenses over the
next three to four years.
Readers should take this announcement with a pinch of salt.
Although "synergies" are part of the beauty of beer industry
transactions, few outsiders are actually capable of verifying
the usually given synergies projections. Besides, who is to say
that AB-InBev's original estimate was not purposefully low so
that they could revise it upwards when needed to sway analysts
The announcement certainly did the trick as on the day it sent
AB-InBev’s stock up more than 5 percent to USD 92.76 per share.
One thing is certain: AB-InBev's interest in buying the other
half of Mexico's brewer Modelo had nothing to do with the U.S.
market. No doubt, Corona and the rest of the Modelo brands in
the U.S. mean big business and good profits. In 2012, Modelo's
beer sales in the U.S. topped 14 million hl for the first time
according to beerinsights.com.
However, when it comes to growth prospects, Mexico and the rest
of the world would have figured much more prominently on AB-InBev's
strategy sheet. Mexico is the number
six beer market worldwide in terms of volumes, growing 14
percent to 65.5 million hl from 2005 to 2011, according to
In Mexico's tight beer duopoly, Modelo controls around 60
percent of the market compared with Heineken-owned FEMSA's 40
percent. Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage and per
capita consumption stood at 61 litres in 2011, according to the
Barth/Hansmaennel report. Add to that rather favourable
demographics - 2 million people reach the legal drinking age of
18 every year - and you will perhaps understand why Mexico has
been foremost on AB-InBev's mind.
In terms of profits, Mexico already ranks as the world's
fourth-largest profit pool at USD 1.7 billion (EUR 1.3 billion)
as measured in EBIT in 2011 behind the U.S., Brazil and Japan.
Guess how much in extra profits will AB-InBev be able to extract
from Modelo once they can lay their hands on the business?
Modelo's EBITDA margin is not bad: AB-InBev forecasted a 33
percent EBITDA margin for 2012. But AB-InBev's Brazilian unit
AmBev does much better: 46 percent. It does not take much
guessing which way Modelo will head once it receives the famous
AB-InBev makeover: its margin and profits are sure set to rise.
The other thing that AB-InBev will do is to push the Corona
brand globally. The brand currently
holds the number one import ranking in 38 countries. AB-InBev
see big potential for Corona to be a dominant global brand,
alongside their flagship brand Budweiser, winning over beer
drinkers in growing markets.
Losing the U.S. business to Constellation may be painful to
AB-InBev but something they could be more than compensated for
in the long run by Corona's growth in and outside Mexico.
USA - Worries over beer price hikes not allayed by revised
When the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) sued to stop the deal
between AB-InBev and wine company Constellation in January 2013,
it argued that combining the nation’s number one and number
three beer sellers would drive up prices for consumers.
The DOJ probably had a point here. Even when owning the Corona
importer Crown Imports outright, Constellation would still have
been held captive by AB-InBev/Modelo and their pricing policy.
Whatever prices AB-InBev/Modelo would have set in the future for
the Corona brand, Crown could not have done anything but pass
the increases on to U.S. consumers.
To all appearances, the revised deal between AB-InBev and
Constellation abolishes Crown’s dependency on AB-InBev/Modelo.
With its own brewery in Mexico plus the full rights to the
Modelo brands in the U.S., Constellation will be “home alone” to
play, so to speak.
However, to the DOJ the question remains: What kind of player
will Constellation/Crown be in the future? As the DOJ saw it,
Crown was a maverick player - pricing its beers competitively to
take market share from its rivals.
This is what Crown has done over the past few years. It kept
prices more or less flat while AB-InBev and MillerCoors raised
theirs. This way it not only increased its volume sales, it also
put a powerful damper on beer prices in general, thanks to
Corona being such a dominant brand in the U.S. market.
Interestingly, when vetting the original AB-InBev-Modelo deal,
the DOJ’s investigators discovered that at Crown there had been
a heated debate for years between Constellation and Modelo, its
joint owners, over how to price Corona in the U.S. market. While
Modelo’s Mexican owners strove to increase U.S. market share
through lower prices, Constellation pushed to follow AB-InBev’s
price leadership to maximize its own short-term profits. The
dispute became so heated that in December 2009 Modelo filed suit
against Constellation for a breach of its fiduciary duty.
You can imagine that Crown’s pricing policy would have annoyed
AB-InBev no end. Although they owned the majority of shares in
Modelo, they did not have the majority say on Modelo’s board.
The Mexican owners had the decisive vote on strategy.
The new SABMiller CEO has his job cut out for him – by his
In the din of brewers’ corporate Newspeak, one voice has always
stood out: Graham Mackay’s. While his colleagues preferred to
drone on in a language that could have been some obscure
Mongolian dialect for all we knew, the outgoing Executive
Chairman and former CEO of SABMiller could be trusted to talk
about issues that really mattered in plain English that even a
dumb blonde understood – had she been interested in the
consolidation of the brewing industry.
In an interview with Reuters (chapeau to my colleagues for
getting Mr Mackay to sit down and talk) on the sidelines of the
Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Boca Raton,
Florida, on 19 February 2013, Mr Mackay, said that one of the
biggest challenges facing Alan Clark, the incoming CEO of
SABMiller, will be continuing to grow the business as strongly
in a world with fewer acquisitions to make.
Mergers and acquisitions have "gotten stickier," Mr Mackay
explained because there are fewer companies around that can be
bought, driving up price expectations.
In a rare flash of modesty (or was he merely ironic?) Mr Mackay
called the new generation of SABMiller bigwigs "much cleverer
than I am ... but it will get harder [for them] to drive out
growth because the consolidation phase has passed its first
Finland – Down down down
Whoever put out the estimate how much Heineken’s Finnish
subsidiary Hartwall could fetch if sold seems highly optimistic.
In early February 2013 the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper reported
that Dutch brewer Heineken was seeking to sell Hartwall, the
Finnish arm of the former Scottish & Newcastle brewing group it
bought in 2008, for about GBP 500 million pounds (EUR 590
According to the website largestcompanies.com, Hartwall’s
turnover in 2010 was EUR 322 million (USD 425 million). Its
rival Sinebrychoff, which is owned by Carlsberg, achieved
slightly over EUR 350 million while Olvi managed EUR 285
million. The three companies dominate the Finnish alcohol and
non-alcoholic beverages industry.
It’s hard to make an educated guess on Hartwall’s margins as
Heineken does not release country-by-country financials. Since
Heineken closed Hartwall’s northernmost Lapin Kulta Brewery in
2010 and concentrated operations in Lahti, profitability must
have improved, but whether this was enough for Hartwall to reach
Heineken’s Western European average of 12.4 percent (EBIT
margin) in 2012 I am not sure.
Netherlands – Shame on Europe
Is there no end to brewers’ woes in western Europe? Heineken
reported on 13 February 2013 that it was thanks to Africa, Asia
and the Americas driving volume and revenue growth, that the
brewer managed to offset weak European markets in its 2012
In the Americas, including Mexico’s FEMSA which Heineken bought
in 2010, Heineken sold 4.2 percent more beer. In Africa, where
it dominates in Nigeria, volumes rose 3.6 percent. Operating
profit in the regions rose 7.9 percent and 9.8 percent
However, in western Europe, where austerity has accelerated a
general decline in beer consumption, volumes fell 2 percent with
operating profit down 6.6 percent.
Denmark – Carlsberg disappoints investors
Brewer Carlsberg left analysts in a tizzy after they cancelled
their medium-term profitability goal. The February 2010 target
to boost operating profit to 20 percent of sales in
three-to-five years has “proved difficult to use”, Carlsberg
said on 18 February 2013, adding that “several events, both
within and beyond our control, have and will continue to impact
change in long-term financial targets is probably the most
disappointing element in the report”, the Sydbank analyst Morten
Imsgaard was quoted as saying. He added that this “helps paint a
picture of a brewery which is not entirely in control of factors
which are decisive for earnings.”
Since Carlsberg set the margin target, the European economy has
been wobbly while Russia, their biggest single market, has seen
a government-led clampdown on beer sales.
Carlsberg said that beer demand in Russia had been stagnant
while the western European market declined about 1 percent to 2
percent in 2012. Fortunately, demand in Asia increased.
USA - Consumers to benefit if Obama
administration blocks AB-InBev-Modelo merger
Media support is rallying behind the U.S.
government to prevent AB-InBev’s pending transaction to acquire
the remaining shares in Mexico's brewer Modelo that it does not
On 9 February 2013, in a leader, the New York
Times newspaper wrote that consumers will benefit if the Justice
Department’s antitrust suit to block AB-InBev, the country’s
largest brewing company, from acquiring one of its competitors,
is successful. It added that this kind of action was seen less
frequently in the Bush administration.
The New York Times newspaper is
considered a more liberal voice in U.S. media, so it coming out
in support of the Justice Department should not really surprise.
This article came hard on the heels of
AB-InBev's statement of the previous day that Constellation
Brands and Crown Imports have joined AB-InBev in fighting the
U.S. Department of Justice in the courts on 8 February 2013.
Finland - Is Heineken preparing for an
In a brief news item, the UK's Sunday Times
reported on 3 February 2013 that Heineken is rumoured to be
looking to sell its Finnish subsidiary Hartwall for EUR 590
million (USD 790 million). Heineken acquired Hartwall as part of
the Scottish & Newcastle transaction in 2008, which it conducted
jointly with Carlsberg.
Although only a rumour, Heineken responded
quickly. On 4 February 2013 Heineken announced that they have
merely started a "strategic review". During this review,
Heineken will evaluate strategic options for Hartwall to drive
continued growth for the business, within or outside of the
Heineken group. The strategic review is expected to be finalised
before the end of the year.
Market observers concur that Heineken cannot
have been too keen on acquiring Hartwall in the first place. But
the company fell into their lap as Carlsberg could not take on
Hartwall themselves. At the time of the S&N takeover, Carlsberg
already owned the Finnish Sinebrychoff beverage business - since
1999 - and obviously feared competition concerns.
China - CR Snow/SABMiller buys Kingway
Gaining market shares seems to be
brewers' top priority. Or how should we interpret SABMiller's
recent acquisition of the loss-making brewer Kingway otherwise?
SABMiller said on 5 February 2013 it agreed
to buy China’s Kingway Brewery Holdings for 5.38 billion yuan
(USD 863 million) through its Chinese joint venture with China
Resources Enterprise, CR Snow, thus beating competition from
AB-InBev and Beijing Yanjing Brewery. The transaction price
includes about USD 33 million worth of loans, it was reported.
China's major brewers have been circling
Kingway for over a year after Heineken and its partner APB
decided to sell their 22 percent stake in Kingway in May 2011.
At the time of Heineken's exit Kingway was valued at USD 730
million, but Heineken still wanted out in order to focus on the
more profitable premium segment. On average, brewers in China
earn about USD 2 per hl, while earnings in the premium segment
are probably 10 times this sum.
Myanmar - Carlsberg re-enters Southeast
Asia’s fast-growing beer market
After Carlsberg began posting job openings
for Myanmar nationals in mid-summer on its website, speculation
was rife that Carlsberg was seeking to return to Myanmar
following the easing of international sanctions which had forced
the brewer out of the country in the mid-1990s.
On 1 February 2013 Carlsberg announced it has
formed a joint venture in Myanmar with privately-owned Myanmar
Golden Star Breweries (MGS) to brew and market Carlsberg beers
in the country. Carlsberg will own 51 percent in the new joint
MGS, which is controlled by local tycoon
Thein Tun and produces Myanmar's leading cola brand Star Cola,
is well known to Carlsberg. It was Carlsberg's original partner
in Myanmar before political circumstances made Carlsberg leave
the country. Previously, Carlsberg's beers were only imported
into the country and sold there.
Europe - How to stem the erosion of the beer
category? Sell a Radler.
It's kind of funny that a beverage that is
basically a simple beer mix and was already invented over 90
years ago by a Munich publican, is finally becoming an
international phenomenon. Radlers or shandies have proven very
popular in several central European markets like Hungary,
Austria, Croatia and Slovakia, where they have captured between
3 and 6 percent of the beer market. In the Czech Republic
Radlers have instilled some vigour into the languishing beer
market category. Same in Poland, where Radlers were introduced
last summer to offset a sluggish market.
Judging from what they say, SABMiller and
Heineken have set high hopes for these products. In fact, in
November 2012, Heineken's Alexis Nasard boasted to analysts that
"Radler is one of the examples of a global innovation that we do
on local brands. It's been executed in 13 markets last year, in
eight markets this year and a lot more next year and we aim for
it to be a global initiatives by the end of 2013 almost
entirely. Radler is a great initiative because it's value
enhancing, we sell it at a premium. It is also creating new
drinking occasions in beer, because there are lots of instances
where people are not sure they want to drink a beer. [...] It is
refreshing, it is less alcohol, it is 2% [ABV], it is more
accessible to many people who don't really like the bitterness
of beer. So it's gathering new consumers and new consumption
opportunities and it's been a success so far."
Mr Nasard said it all: Radlers are easy to
make; they already come in all kinds of flavours - lemon,
cherry, elderflower, pink grapefruit, blackcurrant, to name but
few; they are usually sold at a higher price than beer and they
allow brewers to reach target groups that would not touch a
Brewers' keenness to launch Radlers is fed by
two realisations. Beer consumption in Europe is declining. Many
youngsters will drink anything but beer. Thus, marketing Radlers
may be the only way to prevent them from defecting to other
drinks. This may be a defensive move, but so what. At the same
time, brewers can use Radlers pro-actively to tap into the
growing number of middle class consumers in emerging markets,
who want to be tempted with new products that are easy-to-grasp
In effect, Radlers can help brewers stem
consumers' migration to other drinks, such as energy drinks or
cocktails, while taking them gently back into the beer fold.
Although it's a disputed issue among brewers if Radlers should
taste of beer or not - the pro-camp usually argues that it is an
alcoholic beverage and therefore should taste of beer - the fact
is that consumers enjoy Radlers for all kinds of reasons:
because they are refreshing, lower-in alcohol, as well as fruity
and sweet in taste (a boon with women).
Radlers may have been around Germany like
forever, but the beauty is that Radlers are still not a
well-defined category. There is no dogma. That's why no one
knows or really cares if a Radler should be made with a lemon
pop or lemon juice. Radlers are a free-for-all category.
Obviously, major brewers have no problem
launching Radlers into markets wherever they deem them suitable,
thanks to their greater marketing clout. But Radlers can benefit
smaller brewers too, provided they understand that some flavours
may have a short lifespan. However, with risks and investments
being manageable, should a flavour bomb one year, brewers can
always try out a new one the following year.
USA – Crown Imports’ fate is hanging in
The future of beer importer Crown
Imports, which ranks third in U.S. beer sales volume behind
Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, looks decidedly uncertain after
the U.S. government announced it will sue to block the attempted
merger of AB-InBev and Mexico's Grupo Modelo on 31 January 2013.
The case was filed in the U.S.
District Court for the District of Columbia as the United States
of America versus AB-InBev and Grupo Modelo.
After months of behind-the-scenes
discussions with AB-InBev, the U.S. government has filed a
lawsuit seeking to stop AB-InBev from buying the half of Mexican
brewer Grupo Modelo that it does not already own, saying the USD
20.1 billion deal could mean higher U.S. beer prices.
The government's move not only calls
into question the completion of one of the biggest deals of 2012
but also a related deal that was set to change the fortunes of
the world's largest wine company, Constellation Brands.
South Africa – Diageo enters sorghum beer
That’s an interesting move.
SABMiller got out of sorghum beer production in South Africa
over a decade ago and now Diageo is getting into it. The world’s
leading drinks company on 28 January 2013 said it will acquire a
50 percent interest in a joint venture, co-owned by India’s
Vijay Mallya, for USD 36 million (EUR 26 million).
According to the lawyers Herbert
Smith Freehills, who advised on the deal, Diageo and Dr Mallya
are also considering an extension of the joint venture to other
emerging markets in Asia (other than India) and Africa.
On November 9, 2012, Diageo and Dr
Mallya entered into a memorandum of understanding to form a
50:50 joint venture, which would own United National Breweries'
(UNB) traditional sorghum beer business in South Africa.
The transaction is conditional on
consent from the South African competition authority and is
expected to complete in the first half of this year.
Sorghum beer – also called
“tradition beer” – is estimated to account for 15 million hl of
annual consumption in South Africa. That’s half the volume of
“clear” beer, i.e. European type lagers. However, industrial
production of sorghum beer only represents 30 percent or less of
consumption as the bulk of it is still homebrewed.
With six breweries across South
Africa, down from 18 a decade ago, UNB dominates the traditional
beer business. It is the successor to National Sorghum Breweries
(NSB), a failed Black Economic Empowerment company, of which it
took control in 1996.
In 2000, UNB also took over
Traditional Beer Investments, the sorghum division of then SAB,
because SAB did not believe in a profitable future for
commercial sorghum beer. Although UNB’s Indian owners have
frequently said that they turned the business round, profits
must have been wafer thin most years as volumes have declined
UNB brews six different brands,
including Chibuku, which is found throughout Africa, where it is
produced by different companies.
The nature of traditional beer, in
that it is an actively fermenting product with a very limited
shelf life, necessitates on-the-ground and hands-on management
requiring a decentralised operational base.
While Heineken refrains from brewing
sorghum beer as it is a comparatively low margin business,
SABMiller is actively involved in sorghum beer brewing in
several African markets in an effort to steadily move consumers
away from homebrew to commercial brews. SABMiller brews Chibuku
in Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania and
Ghana as well as in Zimbabwe through its joint venture, Delta.
SABMiller’s Chibuku sells at 50
percent to 70 percent of the price of a lager. Its innovation,
Chibuku Super, enables wider distribution through increasing the
shelf-life beyond the usual three days to 60 days.
Australia – SABMiller tries to revive
It seems that SABMiller have realised that
the previous Foster’s management axed too many experienced
brewing/technical staff, thus creating an embarrassing shortage.
That’s why in January 2013 there were ten technical job
vacancies at Foster’s published on the website seek.com.au.
SABMiller’s unit Foster’s has
reported further declines in sales for the October-to-December
2012 quarter, despite its flagship Victoria Bitter (VB)
reporting its first gain in sales for more than a decade.
SABMiller, which acquired Foster’s for AUD 12.3 billion in
December 2011, reported a 4 percent decline in underlying sales
by volume for the three months to the end of December 2012,
compared with the same period a year earlier.
However, the sales decrease was in line with the overall beer
market, and SABMiller noted the pace of decline had slowed from
the 8 percent fall seen in the July-to-September 2012 quarter.
Netherlands – Local brewers should seek
better economies of scale, says new Rabobank report
Why the recent interest in small
brewers? Is it because the big multinational brewers have
realised that their brands are often more vibrant than their own
mega-brands? Or because they have found out to their distress
that they depend on the smaller guys to keep consumer interest
in the beer category alive?
Be it as it may, there is no denying
that small operators are struggling in their mostly mature
As Dutch Rabobank argues in a recent
report “Battling the Brewing Giants - The changing face of
competition for local brewers” (18 January 2013), over the past
decade, the global brewing sector has gone through a
consolidation process. The leading four brewers — AB-InBev,
SABMiller, Heineken and Carlsberg — which had a market share of
just 16 percent in 2001, today account for nearly half the
global beer volume.
Recent activity suggests that this
process is continuing. Rabobank’s research shows that, as the
top four brewers grew through acquisitions, many of the smaller
local brewers stood on the side lines and are now finding
themselves competing with global giants, rather than with other
local niche players.
Although there is a problem with
definition as to what constitutes a local brewer – is it the
microbreweries with their tiny beer volumes or big brewers like
Germany’s Oettinger brewery (5.9 million hl in 2012) that
operate in one market only – Rabobank says that in terms of
volume, the local brewers’ market share has remained fairly
stable over time, with local brewers selling 100 billion litres
and having a 53 percent market share in 2011 (2001: 56 percent),
meaning that organically local brewers have not lost significant
market share to the acquisitive multinational giants.
That’s the good news. However, the
bad news is that local brewers have lost out to the
multinationals in terms of profits. “In 2011, local brewers made
up just 25 percent of the profit pool, declining from a 45
percent share in 2002,” says Rabobank analyst Francois
“The brewing giants have been able
to increase their share of profits through efficiency gains and
implementation of a premiumisation strategy in emerging markets
where premium beer brands are more profitable. In absolute
terms, local brewers have also benefited from the growth of the
profit pool as their operating profits have increased over the
years. This should give local brewers some peace of mind at a
time when mature market conditions are deteriorating, driven by
the recession and reductions in disposable income”, he added.
Unfortunately, for local brewers,
there is no guarantee that the multinational brewers will stick
to their policy of profits over volumes. Eventually, they might
decide to change their strategy and focus on volume growth
rather than profit.
In order to compete, Rabobank
advises local brewers to evaluate their cost structures and
consider alternatives, such as joint purchasing or
co-manufacturing, which could give them greater economies of
This is what consultants have been
telling local German operators for two decades now. Did they
heed their advice?
Perhaps local brewers in other
markets will see the light sooner than the Germans.
In its 2013 global beverage
industries’ outlook (29 January 2013) Rabobank predicts that
beer will be one of the slowest growing beverages categories in
volume, achieving only a low single digit increase globally.
As concerns consumer trends,
Rabobank notes that in markets where consumers are trading up,
leading brewers will continue to make acquisitions of niche
products to add to their strong brand portfolios. “Trading up
will help brewers to increase the profit pool, but consumers
will be very demanding, and as the quality of beer becomes more
important, it will become necessary for brewers to pay greater
attention to their sourcing strategies”, Rabobank says.
Sweden – Craft versus pseudo crafts
First the U.S., then Australia and
now Sweden. As Brauwelt International will argue in an upcoming
report on “Craft Brewing in Europe”, micro brewers currently
find themselves embroiled in a hot debate over what constitutes
an authentic craft beer. With craft beer becoming more popular
in several markets, we see more and more crafty-looking me-too
launches by the big operators. However, all too often the
multinational brewers feel compelled to disguise the origins of
their craft beers, probably knowing all too well that ownership
is a sore issue in the definition of craft beers.
UK – Obesity is the new frontier
Getting your timing right is
everything in politics. So why did the issue of obesity dominate
the UK’s media during the last week in January? Was it because
the Public Health Minister, Anna Soubry, had persuaded eight new
companies to sign up to the UK government’s Calorie Reduction
Pledge, with leading soft drinks brands Lucozade and Ribena
joining the likes of Britvic, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in reducing
the amount of sugar and calories in some of their products?
No, it was because she had said
something outrageously insulting at the UK’s Food and Drink
Federation’s ‘Delivering Healthy Growth’ stakeholder event on 22
January 2013. She reportedly began her address with some remarks
about fat people she had seen when out and about. "When I walk
around my constituency, you can almost tell somebody's
background by their weight," she said. "Obviously not everybody
who is overweight comes from a deprived background but that is
where the propensity lies." She added that when she was at
school, the poorer children were "skinny runts" - but that now
the opposite was true.
Of course, the timing of her address
was crucial. Over in Davos, where 2,500 top leaders from
government and business had gathered to make connections and
lobby the movers and shakers at the annual meeting of the World
Economic Forum (WEF), one of the issues discussed was obesity.
Obesity is far from a personal
problem only. It imposes costs on both public and private
sectors and is a drag on economic growth.
However, the business leaders
meeting in Davos couldn’t agree on what they can or should do to
2009 december ·