There is a lot happening in this week’s issue, bread weights deregulation, which looked to be on hold, has suddenly been the victim of a coup d’état. So sometime next year, we should see a virtual free-for-all, specifically on wrapped bread and possibly unwrapped (pg 4).It is news that will delight most of the supermarkets and some plant bakers – but definitely not others. Most have refrained from speaking publicly on the issue, but privately they know that it will cause some havoc and plenty of discussion.While millers will be concerned that a range of smaller loaves might mean less flour sold, bakers and retailers will be concerned that more air and water may make loaves look larger than they should, meaning prices will not reflect true content – and so it goes on.It was a topic discussed at the recent Federation of Bakers conference – before news of the deregulation came through (pg 16). But nothing is likely to happen before 2008, so there’s still time for reflection.Also this week, Patak’s seems a perfect fit for ABF (pg 5). And at the Scottish Conference at Peebles, I learned that the next increase in the minimum wage in October has been limited to 3.2%, with quite a bit of credit for the limit going to Low Pay Commission representative and past president of the SAMB Ian Hay.The SAMB also reported that it had seen a rise in employment queries about age discrimination, so I hope that our article this week, Age Aware (pg 14) proves timely.Meanwhile, the UK’s branded coffee shop market is continuing to expand significantly (pg 8) with Starbucks leading the growth. It is all about branding and ambience, but bakers can do just as well with the right offering in the right place. On page 21, we look at how even opening a small in-store coffee shop can really boost your business. And the bakery offering in many coffee shops is nowhere as good as in a baker’s shop, although the cakes and biscuits are usually imaginative.No, it’s mainly the coffee and ambience that is the draw. So if you go ahead, give the coffee equal importance and give your shopfitter a brief to visit all the coffee shop chains. Bakers can do it better!
Cruise operator Genting Hong Kong has raised USD 900 million through a sale and leaseback transaction of one of Dream Cruises’ ships – the 2016-built, 150,000 gross ton Genting Dream.The sale and leaseback deal was closed with a consortium of four Chinese leasing companies, through their special purpose vehicles indirectly wholly-owned by Bank of Communications Financial Leasing Co., CMB Financial Leasing Co., CCB Financial Leasing Corporation Limited and China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co. DNB Markets acted as advisor to Genting Hong Kong.The company said that a part of the funds received was used for repayment of the outstanding balance of approximately USD 502 million in respect of the existing bank loan for the Genting Dream.“We are very appreciative of the consortium for supporting Genting Hong Kong in the refinancing of Genting Dream which allows a longer repayment period with a balloon payment at the end of 12 years,” said Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman and Chief Executive of Genting Hong Kong. “With the completion of this transaction, the group is now focusing on launching new summer itineraries for Dream Cruises which will showcase the best of Southeast Asia with exciting new destinations including Christmas Island and Belitung in addition to popular destinations such as Palawan and Kota Kinabalu. As well, we are looking forward to the highly anticipated debuts of Crystal Endeavor in August this year and of Global Dream in 2021.” In just over three years of operation, Dream Cruises has grown its fleet to three ships: Genting Dream, World Dream and Explorer Dream.
Ghana’s second day of training on Wednesday will present Kwesi Appiah with a full-house after the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan together with goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey arrived in camp.The Black Stars began preparations on Tuesday for the first leg fixture in the final round of qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations against Malawi on Saturday with 21 players.But the arrival of the three players increases the numbers to 24.The trio will meet up with the rest of the squad in the morning for training at the Accra Sports Stadium.