Wind overtakes coal as the UK’s biggest energy source, Israel’s 250m-tall solar tower and the $9.1bn US pet food market all feature in this week's round-up of procurement and supply chain stories...
The price of a 2011 bottle of Romanée Conti Grand Cru, the most expensive wine on the menu in the restaurant at the Zurich-Hyatt where the council of FIFA, world football’s governing body, voted unanimously to increase the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams from 2026 onwards. The expansion is expected to raise $1bn in extra revenue for FIFA but Daily Mail sportswriter Martin Samuel blasted president Gianni Infantino’s move as a “triumph of mediocrity over excellence”.
The number of calories in a calskroven, a Swedish delicacy in which a hamburger, with bacon, pepperoni, diced steak, cheese and fries are baked inside a calzone pizza. The invention has outraged the Scots, creators of the deep-fried Mars bar, but one journalist, who lived in Sweden, said it “tastes like a four week stay in a coronary care unit”.
The sum Mars is paying for VCA, a $2.5bn-revenue North American animal healthcare group, as it seeks to bolster its presence in pet food, veterinary clinics and research laboratories. Around America, 100m homes now have pets and Mars already owns the pet food brand Iams, pet hospitals and provides GPS tracking and DNA testing for pets. The petcare market is expanding by around 4% a year in the US and Paul Weihrauch, president of Mars global petcare business, said “individualisation” is the key trend as advances in technology and nutrition allow for “tailor-made diagnostics and food which extend the life of pets”.
The number of young elephants Zimbabwe is said to be hoping to sell to China to repay an old debt. Along with the pachyderms, Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwe’s president Robert, has earmarked 12 hyenas, eight lions and a giraffe as part of the pay-off. Neither government has commented on the deal. Zimbabwe has repaid loans with wildlife before but this latest trade, especially the sale of live elephants, might breach new guidelines by the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species (CITES).
The first year in which the UK generated more power from wind than coal. In 2012, coal was the single biggest source of energy in the UK but, last year, it supplied around 8% of the country’s power, compared to 10% from wind. The UK has recently announced that all its coal power stations will close by 2025, although campaigners want it to bring that deadline forward.
The height of Israel’s new solar tower, the largest in the world, which is being constructed in the Negev desert. The tower, which is encircled by 50,000 mirrors, is part of the Ashalim project, which is due to start generating solar energy. Israel aims to meet 10% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. And the first phase of Ashalim is expected to generate 310MW, enough energy to power 130,000 homes.
The percentage fall in outsourcing group Capita’s shares in 2016. Broker Jefferies has cooled on the company, which issued a profit warning in December, expressing concern abut the pipeline of future deals and the “number and public profile of underperforming contracts”. One month’s delay in the installation of a new IT system for the congestion charge is likely to cost the company £25m.
The number of US patents received by IBM in 2016, out of a total of 304,126 issued. IBM, which is expanding into the analysis of healthcare data, was awarded more than any other company, followed by Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, Google, Intel, LG, Microsoft, Taiwan Semiconductor and Sony.