Israeli co-op takeover
Bank Hapoalim is to finance half the purchase of the Blue Square Co-op supermarket chain, David (Dudi) Weissman, a major shareholder and president of the Alon-Dor energy and retail group, which bid for the chain earlier this month, has said.
He stressed that despite reports that a a banking consortium is behind the deal, Hapoalim on its own would finance 50 per cent of the NIS 1.337 billion offer to buy 78 per cent of Blue Square from the Co-op Blue Square Consumer Co-operative Society. The Alon company and Matthew Bronfman each would finance 25 percent of the offer, he added.
Weissman hopes to expand the co-op chain overseas, particularly to the United States. "We are in favour of merging our activities in Israel and overseas. Having a foot outside Israel usually strengthens a company's activities in the home country. At least that was so with Alon," he said.
? Ha'aretz,Â Israel
Catfish prove popular
Kentucky's catfish co-op has received an order for 84,000 pounds of fish from Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the US.
The order was placed to coincide with Lent, said Bob Zumwalt, general manager of the Purchase Area Aquaculture Co-operative (PAAC) in Graves County.
Kroger is also promoting PAAC catfish in advertising. "Every time it's run an ad, it has run out of our product," Zumwalt said.
? Sea Food News, USA
Kenyan coffee fears
A plan by the Kenyan Co-operative Bank to purchase smaller mills through co-operative societies has led to negative reaction from the Kenya Planters Co-operative Union (KPCU).
The union accuses the bank of sponsoring the fragmentation of the coffee industry by stopping farmers from delivering their produce. KPCU Chairman, Stephen Kirubi, said the bank had issued guarantees to two competitors without security.
KPCU is also worried that the funds set aside by the bank to purchase the mills for co-ops might trigger the decline of its milling operations.
"If this business is taken away from us, we will not sustain basic operations. Banks will panic and call in debts," he said.
This parallel investment is over and above what farmers have already set up under the KPCU, which was licensed as an interim marketing agency in May 2002.
? East African Standard,Â Kenya