Business The Punt

Saturday 17 February 2018

The Punt: Carney brushes off Brexit talk

Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England. Photo: Bloomberg
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England. Photo: Bloomberg
Former model Lizanne Falsetto

It's not just Pierre Moscovici who's a little reluctant to talk about the prospect for and potential of a British exit from the EU.

Mark Carney's tight-lipped as well.

The Bank of England doesn't predict the outcome of political events when forecasting business investment and growth, Governor Carney said yesterday.

"We'll have to see," Carney said when asked about the possible impact of the referendum on European Union membership on business investment.

"We're not conducting a hypothetical exercise," Carney said. "We're being, if you will, mechanical, not predictive, with respect to this issue because to be otherwise would be to weigh into a political debate where we don't belong."

Carney also said "you can't expect us to speculate" when asked about the effect on sterling of a possible British exit from the EU.

While he wouldn't go into contingency planning, he said that after events have passed, "as appropriate, we do disclose what we have done" surrounding contingency planning.

The $217m energy rush

There's an interesting interview in 'Forbes' this week with former model Lizanne Falsetto, inset.

She recently sold her energy bar business, ThinkThin, to Irish dairy firm Glanbia for $217m (€193m). During her modelling days she started making her own energy bars to snack on, and then refined them and started to pitch them to retailers.

But she says that in 2003, the famous nutritionist and cardiologist Dr Atkins slipped, hit his head, died and in the process also almost killed off the low-carb diet craze he had promoted.

Falsetto said the low-carb diet business hit a wall, prompting her to restructure.

"At that point I was in negotiations to sell the company to Hershey for $54m and they walked out of the deal," she tells 'Forbes'.

An 11-year wait to quadruple the sale price seems worth it.

"We inked the deal and I walked away feeling elated," she says of the sale of Glanbia last year.

"I wanted to dance on the table. I wanted to celebrate. I remember going home and telling my kids. My daughter is 16 and my son is 12.

"My son looked at me. He was quiet for a minute and then he looked up and his forehead crunched and he said, 'What are you going to do now, Mom?'

"That is probably when it really hit me."

C&C's union  ire in England

There's strong stuff from the union representing workers at the C&C-owned Shepton Mallet cider mill in England which the Irish company plans to close this year. Production will move to Ireland as part of a wider restructuring.

The cider plant in England employs 120 people, and workers and union reps have been holding meetings to ponder its future. They're hoping a buyer for the site will come forward to continue cider-making at the plant.

Unite regional coordinating officer Steve Preddy told the 'Western Gazette' that the mill, which produces drinks including Blackthorn, is profitable.

The plant also bottles that drink remembered fondly by those of a certain age - Babycham.

"It is quite clear that the Shepton Mallet site is a profitable, going concern and the workers are being sacrificed to generate cash for the company," he said. "This is the unacceptable face of international capitalism and Unite is calling for a similar drinks organisation to take over Shepton Mallet Cider."

He added: "There is no need for the site to close at the end of the summer."

Fruit from about 70 local growers in the Somerset area will continue to be pulped at Shepton Mallet.

But the juice will then be shipped to C&C's plant at Clonmel in Co Tipperary.

Irish Independent

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