Fever-Tree says global demand has boosted profits

Fever-Tree has said global demand for its premium mixer drinks has boosted profits in an “exceptional year” for the business.

Fever-Tree has said global demand for its premium mixer drinks has boosted profits in an exceptional year for the business.
Pre tax profits hit £16.8 million in the year ending 31 December 2015, up from £2.5 million. Revenue was up 71% to £59.3 million, up from £34.7 million in 2014.

Charles Rolls, the firm’s executive deputy chairman, said its success was due to their customers’ “desire to drink premium mixers to complement their premium spirits”.

Tim Warrillow, chief executive of Fever-Tree, added: “2015 was an exceptional first full year for Fever-Tree as a public company.”

The pair decided to become business partners after meeting for the first time in 2003 and launched the company in 2005.

The company is named after the colloquial term for the cinchona tree, from whose bark the natural anti-malarial drug and core tonic water ingredient, quinine, is produced.

About 65% of its sales come from overseas, with key markets in the US and Europe.

Fever-Tree has signed deals with Easyjet and British Airways, with Marks and Spencer also stocking its drinks.

It said its tonics continued to be its best-selling products and that it was benefiting from the popularity of premium gin products in western Europe and US.

Mr Rolls, 57, recalls their first meeting: “The conversation quickly turned from gin to tonic water, and the fact that while there had been a huge increase in the number of premium gins, when it came to the tonic water you added to them, you essentially only had two choices – the market leader Schweppes, or supermarket own brands.

“And these all contained artificial sweeteners. We decided there and then to launch a premium tonic water, with all natural ingredients.”

Mr Warrillow, 39, adds: “It was very apparent from our first few meetings that we seemed to understand each other.”

And so their business, Fever-Tree, was born.

But while it took Mr Rolls and Mr Warrillow just a few hours to decide to go into business together, it then took them 18 months to find a recipe they were happy with. As Mr Rolls had some money in the bank after selling his 25% share in Plymouth Gin, they were able to take their time.

In their efforts to formulate their recipe, they flew to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to source pharmaceutical grade quinine from a plantation, and hired plant hunters to help them find other flavourings, such as a bitter orange grown in Tanzania.

Mr Warrillow says: “The intention was to treat the launch like a premium spirit company would do – in the first instance try to get Fever-Tree stocked by the best hotel bars and restaurants.

With such venues quick to get on board, the company then got what it says was its most important break – upmarket UK supermarket group Waitrose phoned to say it would like to start selling Fever-Tree.

Mr Rolls says: “Tim thought this was a perfectly normal development, but I had to keep telling him that it is incredibly unusual for a supermarket group to chase you. It is almost always the other way round, and hard work.”

“Yet the buyer was incredibly enthusiastic, and just a few weeks after Waitrose starting selling us, she phoned to say we had a hit on our hands.”

With the UK’s other supermarkets quick to follow suit, exports then followed, and London-based Fever-Tree is now available in 50 different countries.

It has also introduced other products, such as a reduced calorie – but still all natural – tonic water, ginger beer, and lemonade. All are produced for it under contract by a company in the south west of England.

Fever-Tree now sells 65 million bottles per year across its range, and employs 70 people, but Mr Rolls says it still has substantial growth potential. He points out, for example, that it currently has only a “single digit percentage” of the UK tonic water market.

June 16, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Exporting Businesses, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Uncategorized  No Comments

UK new car registrations at all time high in 2015

UK new car sales hit an all time record last year, the latest trade industry figures show.

UK new car sales hit an all time record last year, the latest trade industry figures show.
Some 2.63 million new vehicles were registered in 2015, up about 6% on 2014 and the fourth consecutive year of growth, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Stronger consumer confidence, special deals and cheap finance drove sales with registrations in December are thought to have been the best December figures on record.

It is thought that some 180,000 new cars were registered. The previous record for sales in Britain was set in 2003 when 2.58 million new cars were sold.

Car registrations in the UK, Europe’s second biggest auto market after Germany, fell sharply after the 2007-8 financial crisis but have gradually recovered, returning in 2014 to pre-crisis levels at 2.48 million.

Consumers have benefited from low interest rates and the strengthening of sterling against the euro which has made it cheaper to import cars from countries such as Germany and France.

The expected new record high for registrations comes despite declines in sales for Volkswagen, which accounts for around 20% of British car sales. Sales of some of its brands fell sharply in October and November following the diesel emissions scandal.

Despite this VW saw full-year sales rise 4% across all its brands last year.

A big factor fuelling sales is the availability and cost of finance on forecourts. The SMMT says that 80% of cars are bought with some form of finance and around 60% are purchased using PCP’s.

These Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) plans mean customers can buy a new car for an affordable monthly payment in the same way that you might purchase a new mobile phone. As PCP’s work on a 3 year buying cycle, that keeps demand for new cars strong.

Before the downturn car sales averaged around 2.3m a year. The industry doesn’t know what the new norm for sales will be.

However, sales of Skoda brand ended the year down 1% and Seat finished 11% lower after a nearly 50% drop in sales in December.

The best selling car, for the seventh year running, was the Ford Fiesta.

More than 85% of Ford’s showroom sales are on finance plans known as PCPs – where customers in effect lease a car – and which are widely credited with having boosted vehicle sales across the industry in recent years.

May 24, 2016  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Sales, Business Win, Growing Businesses, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

What can Formula 1 teach business leaders?

It took Mika Hakkinen seven years on the Formula 1 circuit to win his first Grand Prix. But he desperately wanted to be champion and he knew that he was close.

It took Mika Hakkinen seven years on the Formula 1 circuit to win his first Grand Prix. But he desperately wanted to be champion and he knew that he was close.“We’re talking about the difference of one tenth of a second between me and Michael Schumacher,” he tells me. “I knew I wasn’t far off.”

He went on to become a two time F1 champion, in 1998 and 1999, and credits his success in part to doctor and mentor, Aki Hintsa. Without him he wouldn’t have won, he says.

Mika explains that Dr Hintsa helped him sharpen his focus on the track by helping him to allay concerns he had off the track – in particular the well being of his family, who he didn’t see as much as he wanted because of all the travelling involved, as well as mentally putting behind him a severe accident he had had a few years previously.

What can they do to be better than their rivals? How can they really get the most out of a single day?

In the hope of finding out, The main message seems to be a simple one – get a good night’s sleep.

Dr Hintsa scoffed at the notion that you can function at full tilt on just five hours’ sleep a night. And competitive bragging about how little you need just isn’t helpful, he implies.

“Operating three nights in a row on just five hours’ sleep is equivalent to driving a car drunk,” he adds.

Mika agrees; you need to rest more than you train, he says, because you just can’t improve while you’re tired. The other message is not drinking alcohol before bed, or using your smartphone or computer.

None of this seems new, but Dr Hintsa says it’s surprising how few people actually implement this. He says such changes will make you function more effectively – whether you’re a top level athlete or work nine to five in an office.

A trained doctor, who also spent time studying long distance runners in Ethiopia, he now works for businesses as well as professional sports people.

“You need to learn to control your emotions,” he says, explaining that if something goes wrong, whether in a car or a business, you need to be able to control your emotions in order to deal with it.

It is important to control, not suppress your emotions, and Mika points out that sometimes it can take a while to process them after winning.

What Dr Hintsa is trying to stress is that to achieve your best you need to look at all parts of your life – physical activity, sleep, nutrition, biomechanics (for this do five minutes of Pilates or stretching every morning he suggests) mental energy and general health.

He calls this the “circle of better life” – and if we commit to slightly improving these aspects daily, we will function more effectively.

And that doesn’t always mean working harder. He worked with one multinational that was going through a period of big change, and the boss’s wife phoned him and thanked him because she felt she now had her husband back in her life.

May 4, 2016  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Flying Businesses, Global Business, Professional Services, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Blackberry revival hopes boosted by sales rise

Blackberry has reported increased revenues of £377 million for the last three months – 12% higher than the previous quarter.

Blackberry has reported increased revenues of £377 million for the last three months - 12% higher than the previous quarterIt was the struggling smartphone maker’s first quarter on quarter increase for more than two years. The better than expected results give the Canadian company some hope that its turnaround plan is working.

Revenue was 31% lower than for the same period last year, but losses narrowed to £61 million compared with a £102 million deficit a year ago.

Chief executive John Chen said he was pleased with progress, as growth in enterprise software gained momentum and revenue rose across its “areas of focus”.

“Blackberry has a solid financial foundation, and we are executing well,” he said.

Revenue from software – a figure being closely watched by analysts – more than doubled to £111 million compared with the same quarter last year.

Total software revenue for the first three quarters reached about £249 million – within striking range of the £350 million forecast for the full financial year to February.

Last month, the company launched a new smartphone called the Priv, the first to run on the Android platform rather than its own operating system.

The majority of the world’s smartphones run on the Google-developed Android.

Blackberry said the Priv combined Blackberry-level security with access to the 1.6 million apps in the Google Play app store.

Mr Chen said the device had been well received and would be available on more mobile networks globally next year.

Blackberry aims to sell five million of the handsets a year. The Priv costs about $700/£580 without a contract, putting it in line with the iPhone and premium Android devices.

The company sold 700,000 devices in the third quarter, down 100,000 from the previous quarter, but average selling prices rose from $240 to $315.

The company is valued at just £2.82 billion. In comparison Apple is worth more than £420 billion.

April 24, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Connected Business, Digital Business, Global Business, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Google paid Apple $1bn in 2014 to keep search on iPhone

Google paid rival Apple $1 billion in 2014 to keep its search function the default option on iOS devices, Bloomberg reports.

Google paid rival Apple $1 billion in 2014 to keep its search function the default option on iOS devices, Bloomberg reports.A transcript of court proceedings from a copyright lawsuit against Google allegedly contains reference to a deal between the Silicon Valley firms.

The alleged agreement involves Google paying Apple a percentage of revenue – as much as 34% – gained through iOS devices.

Bloomberg added that the referenced document has since been removed from the web. “The transcript vanished without a trace from electronic court records at about 15:00,” the report noted.

The court proceedings in question regard a lawsuit by Oracle Corp. in which the firm claims that Google used its Java software to develop Android but failed to pay for it.

Analyst firms, such as Morgan Stanley, have quoted the $1 billion figure in the past, but this appears to be the first time that a reference has been found in court documents.

Other details about how Google manages its services emerged this week – including the fact that the firm removed 780 million “bad” advertisements from its sites last year.

By bad, Google said it was referring to ads which linked to malware, promoted fake goods or covered up website content.

In a blog post, the company said it had more than 1,000 people within its organisation responsible for weeding out these ads and that the number that had to be removed was increasing.

Some figures published by Google on advertisements include:

  • More than 17 million ads designed to trick or mislead people into clicking them removed
  • 12.5 million ads blocked which violated Google’s healthcare and medicine policy – such as ads for unapproved drugs
  • More than 30,000 sites suspended for carrying misleading claims about weight loss programmes
  • More than 10,000 sites and 18,000 accounts suspended for attempting to sell counterfeit goods
  • More than 10,000 sites disabled for offering unwanted software

April 13, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Sales, Business Win, Global Businesses, Search Engines, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Businesses  No Comments

Turning rubbish into gold

Mostafa Hemdan is making a good living turning rubbish into gold- founding Recyclobekia, one of the first businesses in the Middle East to recycle electronic waste.

He set up the firm five years ago in the garage of his parents’ house in Tanta, a city 56 miles north of capital Cairo.

At the time, Mr Hemdan was an engineering student, and together with 19 other people from his university he had entered an entrepreneurship competition called Injaz Egypt. Up for grabs for the winner was £7,000 to help develop their start up idea.

“I was watching a documentary about electronic recycling, and I realised there was a lot of potential in extracting metals from mother boards – gold, silver, copper, and platinum,” he says. “It was a booming industry in Europe and the US, but no one in the Middle East was doing it.”

It was at that moment that the idea for Recyclobekia was born, and Mr Hemdan went on to win the competition.

The company’s name comes from the Egyptian Arabic words “roba bekya”, which means “old stuff”, and is commonly heard on the streets of Cairo as rag-and-bone men call out for unwanted household items.

Today, the Egyptian businessman employs 20 people across four warehouses, and sells £1.65 million of electronic waste per year.

Along the way Mr Hemdan has overcome challenges including not being able to fulfil orders, overextending himself, and the backdrop of political upheaval and social unrest in Egypt since the Arab Spring.

Starting the business back in 2011, around the time the Arab Spring began, Mr Hemdan first touted for trade by putting an advert in a business-to-business section of global ecommerce website Alibaba.

Recyclobekia’s first order soon followed when a buyer in Hong Kong ordered 10 tonnes of hard disks.

“At that moment, I didn’t even know where I would collect such an amount, but I accepted,” says Mr Hemdan.

Seeking recyclable material, he moved to Cairo, whose 17 million inhabitants produce 15,000 tonnes of garbage per day.

Most of the city’s waste management is run through an informal system that relies on the Zabbaleen, a Christian community of rag pickers who collect rubbish door-to-door, and meticulously hand sort its components to resell plastic, paper and metal.

However, the Zabbaleen do not collect electronic waste, such as old computers or printers. So instead, Recyclobekia collects such products from companies.

To fulfil the first order from Hong Kong, Mr Hemdan realised that he need to raise £10,000, but this was before he won the Injaz Egypt competition.

Instead, to secure the money he needed Mr Hemdan managed to persuade a university professor to give him a loan, in exchange for 40% of the profit from the first sale.

Winning the entrepreneurship competition helped Recyclobekia to secure investment to expand the business, including £85,000 from two Egyptian private investors, Khaled Ismail and Hussein el Sheikh, who both now sit on the company’s board.

“Here’s where the problems began,” says Mr Hemdan looking back. He stresses that “working with a huge capital while you don’t know how to run a company” can lead to mistakes.

Mr Hemdan’s error was to quickly expand the business, and overestimate how much waste he could collect.

Despite partnering with companies to buy their waste, the amount they discarded was much lower than Recyclobekia expected, and in six months it had only managed to gather six tonnes, a lot less than expected.

In order to rectify the situation, Mr Hemdan realised he need to quickly improve his knowledge of an industry that was still very much in its infancy in Egypt. So he flew to Hong Kong to study the work of recycling firms in the Chinese region.

The trip made Mr Hemdan realise that he had to change Recyclobekia’s business model.

At the time it was simply collecting the old electronic items and sending them off to its buyer in Hong Kong. The Chinese firm would then break them apart, separate the materials, and sell them on to other companies which melted down and extracted the individual metals.

Mr Hemdan realised Recyclobekia could be more profitable if it cut out the middle man, and instead did all the dismantling work itself – it could get a better price for waste that had already been broken up and sorted.

So he ended the Hong Kong deal, and instead signed up with a German extraction company. This also reduced Recyclobekia’s shipping costs.

March 25, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Win, Green Businesses, Growing Business, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Oxfam says wealth of richest 1% equal to other 99%

The richest 1% now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined according to Oxfam.

The richest 1% now has as much wealth as the rest of the world combined according to Oxfam.
It uses data from Credit Suisse from October for the report, which urges leaders meeting in Davos last month to take action on inequality.

Oxfam also calculated that the richest 62 people in the world had as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population.

It criticised the work of lobbyists and the amount of money kept in tax havens.

Oxfam predicted that the 1% would overtake the rest of the world this time last year.

It takes cash and assets worth £48,300 to get into the top 10%, and £533,000 to be in the 1%.

That means that if you own an average house in London without a mortgage, you are probably in the 1%.

The figures carry various caveats, for example, information about the wealth of the super rich is hard to come by, which Credit Suisse says means its estimates of the proportion of wealth held by the 10% and the 1% is “likely to err on the low side”.

As a global report, the figures also necessarily include some estimates of levels of wealth in countries from which accurate statistics are not available.

Some free market think tanks questioned the credibility of the figures.

Oxfam said that the 62 richest people having as much wealth as the poorest 50% of the population is a remarkable concentration of wealth, given that it would have taken 388 individuals to have the same wealth as the bottom 50% in 2010.

“Instead of an economy that works for the prosperity of all, for future generations, and for the planet, we have instead created an economy for the 1%,” Oxfam’s report says.

The trend over the period that Credit Suisse has been carrying out this research has been that the proportion of wealth held by the top 1% fell gradually from 2000 to 2009 and has risen every year since then.

In fact, it is only in the 2015 figures that the proportion held by the top 1% overtakes the share taken by them in the first report in 2000.

Oxfam calls on governments to take action to reverse this trend. It wants workers paid a living wage and the gap with executive rewards to be narrowed.

It calls for an end to the gender pay gap, compensation for unpaid care and the promotion of equal land and inheritance rights for women.

And it wants governments to take action on lobbying, reducing the price of medicines, taxing wealth rather than consumption and using progressive public spending to tackle inequality.

March 13, 2016  Tags: , ,   Posted in: Business Win, Finance Business, Global Business, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Google’s CEO says UK is an ecommerce leader

The UK is the world leader in ecommerce according to the former Google boss Eric Schmidt.

The UK is the world leader in ecommerce according to the former Google boss Eric Schmidt.Now executive chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, Mr Schmidt said there was no reason why a hundred billion pound tech start up could not be launched in Britain.

He said UK entrepreneurs tended to sell up earlier than their US counterparts.

But he said the lesson from the US was that when tech companies run, they can become “very, very big”.

“If you have a strong franchise that’s growing quickly, you’re probably better off waiting a while before selling,” he said.  This lesson could “easily be learned in Britain”.

Mr Schmidt said that “Britain is the leader in ecommerce in the world, far ahead of the United States. Britain has every aspect to build billion pound, ten billion pound, hundred billion pound companies.”

“You have the right regulatory environment. You’ve got the right role within the European continent. Just look at the ecommerce plays and service plays that are now happening in London.”

“Europe is pushing on a European digital single market and in the timeframe of you building a small start-up, the Europeans will figure out a way of building a single digital market for your products.”

He added there were no barriers to launching “a European-scale corporation that is larger than a US-scale corporation”.

Mr Schmidt said the key to any successful start up was the product. “The only thing that matters is the product quality,” he said.

And in the age of social media, “lean distribution models are replacing big marketing and advertising budgets”. This means start ups can compete more easily with more established, big companies, he argued.

“If you have three people and a vision, you should be able to raise funds from friends and family, crowd-funding and early venture groups,” he said.

The key, however, was having a “strong engineering lead”. Without someone with a vested interest in the company to build the app or technology product, start-ups tend to struggle, he said.

Having someone in-house, rather than going to a third party developer, is vitally important, Mr Schmidt said.

February 23, 2016  Tags: , , , , , ,   Posted in: Building Businesses, Business Development, Business Growth, Business Win, Ecommerce Business, Exporting Businesses, Google, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Nike profits up 20% in last quarter

Nike, the world’s leading maker of sporting goods, reported a 20% year on year rise in net profit for the three months ending in November.

Nike, the world's leading maker of sporting goods, reported a 20% year-on-year rise in net profit for the three months ending in NovemberProfitable income for the period came to £530 million.

Future orders for deliveries from December to April 2016 – which is a key measure for Nike – also beat expectations, boosted by strong demand from China, Japan and North America.

Sales revenue was up to £5.31 billion.

The firm said by the end of November its future worldwide orders for footwear and clothing were up 20%, excluding currency changes.

Greater China made up 34% of that growth, while Japan made up 32% and North America 14%.

“Our powerful global portfolio of businesses, combined with strong financial discipline, continue to drive significant shareholder value,” said chief executive Mark Parker.

“We see tremendous opportunity ahead as we enter an Olympic and European Championships year with a full pipeline of inspiring innovation for athletes everywhere.”

Earlier this year, Nike signed a lifetime deal with American basketball star LeBron James. Mr James has been with Nike since 2003 when he signed a £59.7 million contract with the firm. The sports star’s latest deal is believed to be the first lifetime contract ever signed by Nike.

Nike, Inc. is an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing and worldwide marketing and sales of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services. The company is headquartered near Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area.

It is one of the world’s largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment,  In 2014 the brand alone was valued at £13 billion, making it the most valuable brand among sports businesses.

The company was founded on January 25, 1964, as Blue Ribbon Sports, by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. on May 30, 1971. The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Nike markets its products under its own brand, as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Blazers, Air Force 1, Nike Dunk, Air Max, Foamposite, Nike Skateboarding, and subsidiaries including Brand Jordan, Hurley International and Converse.

Nike also owned Bauer Hockey (later renamed Nike Bauer) between 1995 and 2008, and previously owned Cole Haan and Umbro. In addition to manufacturing sportswear and equipment, the company operates retail stores under the Niketown name. Nike sponsors many high profile athletes and sports teams around the world, with the highly recognized trademarks of “Just Do It” and the Swoosh logo.

February 13, 2016  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Growth, Business Profits, Business Sales, Business Win, Growing Profits, Growing Sales, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments

Blackberry revival boosted by sales increase

Blackberry has reported revenues of £377 million for the three months to November – 12% higher than the previous quarter.

Blackberry has reported revenues of £377 million for the three months to November - 12% higher than the previous quarterIt was the struggling smartphone maker’s first quarter on quarter increase for more than two years.

The better than expected results give the Canadian company some hope that its turnaround plan is working.

Revenue was 31% lower than for the same period last year, but losses narrowed to £61 million compared with a £102 million deficit a year ago.

Chief executive John Chen said he was pleased with progress, as growth in enterprise software gained momentum and revenue rose across its “areas of focus”.

“Blackberry has a solid financial foundation, and we are executing well,” he said.

Revenue from software – a figure being closely watched by analysts – more than doubled to £111 million compared with the same quarter last year.

Total software revenue for the first three quarters reached about £249 million – within striking range of the £350 million forecast for the full financial year to February.

Last month, the company launched a new smartphone called the Priv, the first to run on the Android platform rather than its own operating system.

The majority of the world’s smartphones run on the Google developed Android.

Blackberry said the Priv combined Blackberry-level security with access to the 1.6 million apps in the Google Play app store.

Mr Chen said the device had been well received and would be available on more mobile networks globally next year.

Blackberry aims to sell five million of the handsets a year. The Priv costs about £580 without a contract, putting it in line with the iPhone and premium Android devices.

The company sold 700,000 devices in the third quarter, down 100,000 from the previous quarter, but average selling prices rose from £165 to £220.

Shares in Blackberry closed up 10.4% in New York at $8.61, but the stock is still down more than a fifth this year.

The company is valued at just £2.83 billion in comparison to Apple who is worth more than £415 billion.

January 18, 2016  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: Business Communications, Business Sales, Business Services, Business Survival, Business Win, Connected Business, Digital Business, Global Business, Growing Business, Growing Sales, Technological Businesses, Uncategorized, Winning Business  No Comments