Monday, 2 September 2013

Sodastream - Fizzing Up, Or Bubbling Over?

Establishing that the concept has been around for quite some time does not help answer the question that many investors have in mind about Sodastream: ‘Is this a fad, or could this be a disruptor of long established bottlers such as Coca Cola & Pepsi?’ A few retail investors-oriented research firms touting Sodastream stock seem inclined to believe that there is little in the way of an almost inevitable multi-year expansion.

Israeli-headquartered Sodastream International is a leading enterprise developing, manufacturing and selling home beverage carbonation systems worldwide. Its business model appeals very much to investors in that it resembles the razor/razor blades, which made the fortune of companies such as Gillette, whereby high-margin consumables are sold to repeat customers.

In Sodastream’s case, the carbonation system is sold in the USA at prices ranging from 69$-200$ depending on design and features, while refill CO2 canisters after first purchase can be swapped when emptied for new ones at around $15. The company’s turnover is further fuelled by the distribution of a great variety of syrups, many of them licensed by well-know brands, sold in bottles or mono-dose caps to dissolve in carbonated water.

The concept of a home made carbonated drink is know from a long time, as it originated with G. H. Gilbey, a gin distiller who came up with the first system in 1903. Although the first commercial systems were already marketed in the 1920s, the first home systems were sold only in the 1950s and became very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

‘Powerful Benefits’ In EU-US Trade Deal, Says Kennard

“Powerful benefits,” will be gained from the European Union’s Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States (TTIP), said William E. Kennard, United States Ambassador to the European Union. “It’s early. We’re still in the honeymoon period,” he said, adding: “There’s a large, tough hill to climb… we have to work out how to get this done.”

Speaking in the European Parliament at the invitation of the European Conservatives and Reformists political group, Ambassador Kennard said a trade agreement so broad and so ambitious had never been attempted by the USA and the EU. When negotiations are completed, the EU-US agreement will be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated. The European Commission assesses a direct addition of around 0.5% to the EU's annual economic output.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Strasbourg Seat "Insult to Taxpayer, Affront to Common Sense"

MEPs must be allowed to decide how the European Parliament should organise its own business. That's the message from a parliamentary hearing in Brussels organised by the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Ashley Fox MEP, a leading figure in Single Seat Campaign to scrap wasteful parliamentary sessions in Strasbourg, helped organise the hearing and is the co-author of a report for the committee on "The location of the seats of the EU institutons". Most importantly, the will of MEPs should be paramount in deciding the key question of where the Parliament holds its sessions, the hearing was told.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Tajani at 11th European Business Summit entitled "Unlocking Industrial Opportunities"

Antonio Tajani, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Industry and Entrepreneurship, participated in the 11th European Business Summit entitled "Unlocking Industrial Opportunities". This event was a joint initiative of the Federation of Enterprises of Belgium (FEB-VBO) and BusinessEurope. 

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Catalan Bull Fight – Cutting Off Spanish Funds

There are no sacred cows, in Catalunya at least. Spanish MEPs from the Catalan region have called for the European Commission to ensure that funds are not directed from the Common Agriculture Policy to benefit bullfighting in Spain. MEPs Ana Miranda, Raúl Romeva and Ramón Tremosa were joined by Spanish MP Alfred Bosch, in voicing opposition to the use of more than €500m to prop up a traditional industry which they argue would otherwise be bankrupt.

Responding to the issue in March with a written parliamentary answer, Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, stated: “…from the 2003 CAP reform, the support under Pillar I has been decoupled from production and therefore, by definition, is granted per eligible hectare to farmers holding payment entitlements. Consequently, as there is no link to production — let alone a link to the final destination of any bulls reared by the farmer — there can be no legal provision preventing support to be paid to breeders, whose bulls are sold on for bullfighting.”

A red rag to raging MEPs. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Anti-Terror Political Oversight Needed - Sophie In’t Veld, MEP

“If we accept the principle that the mere request for secrecy by a third country to classify a document means it is secret, it is denying access to citizens, but also to MEPs, that is ridiculous. There is no political oversight. America would not tolerate that.” - Sophie In’t Veld, ALDE, Vice Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)


Wednesday, 8 May 2013

In Death Do We Part? Finnish Activist Murdered In Mexico

It should have been different. Mexican, Betty Cariño and Finnish national Jyri Jaakkola were on their way to San Juan Copala, Mexico, with a humanitarian convoy. The ‘Triqui’ indigenous people, had declared their commune autonomous in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, the Triqui were enduring paramilitary assaults. Cariño and Jaakkola’s convoy was supporting the Triqui when it was itself attacked. Cariño, and Jaakkola died in a hail of paramilitary bullets.

The Mexican PRI government did nothing to arrest the offenders. Several months after the attack, an opposition alliance won federal state elections and took control of the government. The current Governor, Gabino Cue, now aims to solve the case.

A European Parliament Green Group delegation visited Mexico this month, led by Green MEPs Ska Keller and Satu Hassi, the Greens having maintained a strong interest in the murders. When the two human rights activists were killed in 2010, the case drew international attention, but to date, there has been no prosecution. The case is symptomatic, say Keller and Hassi, of the wider situation in Mexico; an increasing rate of violence, especially against women, journalists and political activists is accompanied by an alarmingly high impunity.