Ebene Magazine – BUSINESS LIVE: National Grid buys £ 8 billion

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Published: 08:10 GMT, March 18, 2021 | Updated: 09:24 GMT, March 18, 2021

National Grid has announced a deal to purchase the UK’s largest electricity distribution business for £ 7.8 billion and will outsource the UK’s national gas transmission network to increase its focus on electricity .

The Ocado Group announced that continued strong demand for grocery deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic helped retail sales jump 40 percent to nearly £ 600 million in the first quarter.

The beverage maker Fever-Tree has forecast that revenue will rise again this year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels. This is backed by drinking at home and the gradual easing of coronavirus restrictions that are boosting sales in bars and restaurants.

Online food giant Ocado saw sales jump nearly 40 in the 13 weeks to February 28 Percent to £ 559 million, a new retail update shows.

On average, Ocado customers spent £ 147 per time on their shop, with Mark’s & Spencer products making up over a quarter of the cart « consistently ».

Fevertree has proven to be nimble and able to adapt quickly to the very vicious conditions prevailing during the pandemic.

Pubs and bars accounted for 45% of the premium tonic company’s sales prior to the pandemic, so should their closure would theoretically have a devastating impact on sales. However, total sales are only down 3%.

Fevertree has offset much of its so-called « on-trade » business by increasing supermarket sales and penetrating deeper into the lucrative US market where sales last year 23% year-on-year.

Yes, margins have been squeezed over the past year and pre-tax profits are down nearly 29%, but the beverage maker has shown very impressive ingenuity throughout the Covid crisis and is likely to do so rewarded for it when the pandemic is over.

John Pettigrew, CEO of National Grid, comments on the purchase of Western Power Distribution (WPD) worth £ 7.8 billion by the group from US energy giant PPL Corporation :

These transactions will be transformative for our UK portfolio. The acquisition of WPD is a unique opportunity to develop a significant position in UK power distribution.

WPD has a high quality, rapidly growing asset base and an excellent track record of customer satisfaction, operational performance and financial return. We have received a premium rating for our business in Rhode Island and I am confident that in due course we will also achieve attractive shareholder value from the NGG sale.

In combination with the continued successful implementation of our strategy in In the United States, establishing National Grid as the leading UK electricity transmission and distribution operator will strengthen our long-term growth prospects, strengthen our role in the UK energy transition and drive long-term equity ownership.

Upon completion of these transactions, we will continue to have a diversified portfolio of assets in the UK and US with a strong asset growth profile that will further underpin our dividend policy over the longer term.

But there are two problems; First, competitors like Amazon Fresh are facing a major challenge, and second, there is the inevitable decline in online sales after the pandemic. What’s next for the UK’s most valuable retailer?

Ocado has already begun addressing its capacity challenge with the planned opening of three additional warehouses later this year and its partnership with M&S has proven successful. Now the brand has to be innovative for the future. With only 17% of the UK’s locally grown fruits and vegetables, there is a real opportunity to lead the way in building a more sustainable post-Brexit food supply chain.

Or it could be the demand for a wider range of products through new partnerships and expansion in satisfy complementary sectors such as housewares. Ocado has the ability to bolster its offering – but it has to be intuitive and flow into its unique brand experience in the right way.

Ocado has put all its eggs in the online shopping cart. This can be a successful strategy. The question is, can Ocado do better than Amazon.

The US economy will come back to life this year as it recovers from the Covid pandemic, the Federal Reserve said last night.

In a bullish update, the world’s most powerful central bank posted economic growth of 6.5 percent for 2021, compared to an earlier estimate of 4.2 percent at Christmas.

Potential hosts can now find out exactly thanks to a new tool on the website how much they can earn each month by renting their space.

Ocado Retail delivered a strong Christmas season, starting with a 40% increase in sales through 2021 compared to the same period last year. While there is no doubt that online shopping is more firmly anchored in our everyday lives, the comparable growth comparisons for the company should weaken from this point on, as the initial lockdown-related increase in activity has set a high bar.

With Looking at these short-term comparisons, the company should reap the benefits of its investment in additional capacity and faster, more agile customer fulfillment over the next year or so. The partnership with M&S shows how traditional retailers can quickly accelerate their digital fulfillment, which offers untapped international potential. Ocado Retail remains the standout technology company on the FTSE 100.

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