Category Archives: Deep Dive

Impending Fiscal Gloom: Halloween’s Horror Story

By Peter Benson

The writing’s on the wall.

Warning signs of another global recession are seemingly ubiquitous, but it’s easy to dismiss them as just more meaningless bad news. Unfortunately, we may be feeling the combined effects of this bad news sooner than we think, perhaps even by the end of 2020.

What signs am I talking about? Let me explain:

The Inverted Yield Curve

You may not have heard, but in December 2018, part of the U.S. Treasury’s yield curve (5 year – 2 year yield spread) inverted for the first time in nearly a decade. The yield curve is a graph that plots the interest rates of similar bonds with varying times to maturity. Put simply, the yield curve mirrors the outlook of investors on future economic prospects. If it’s curving upward, it means they expect long-term economic growth. If it inverts (curves downward), which it did, it means that the summer holiday you just booked may be in jeopardy. Find out more on that here.

A yield curve inversion is regarded widely as being positively correlated with a recession. The yield curve on 10 year – 2 year yield spreads inverted on 14th August 2019, and the last time it inverted in this fashion was in 2007. According to Reuters, an inversion has predated every recession in the past 50 years, offering a false signal just once in that time. It has previously taken up to 24 months for a recession to follow a yield curve inversion, so perhaps we still have time to wait. Time is ticking on that deadline, however, and all should be revealed by December 2020.

It is worth mentioning that a yield curve inversion should not be taken as gospel in and of itself. Some suggest that the data is skewed because of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s wholesale purchase of bonds to retain their balance sheet, and that the economy rarely moves in ‘lock-step’ with the stock market.

Who knows? Maybe our bank accounts will soon take a hit. Maybe they won’t. But the yield curve’s latest inversion, the strongest metric by which a recession can be predicted, simply cannot be ignored. At the very least, it serves as a wake-up call that it may be time we took a second look at our finances.

Brexit

You get the idea.

The European economic fall-out from a no-deal Brexit is as yet unknown but seemingly unquantifiable.

KPMG forecast that a no-deal outcome could shrink the British economy by 1.5%. A mere 1.5% drop isn’t too bad, right? Wrong. With a GDP that is valued to be in excess of $2.6tn, a 1.5% shrinkage of the UK’s economy would equate roughly to a loss of $39bn. To put that figure into perspective, the GDP of Latvia is estimated to be in the ballpark of $39bn.

That’s not to mention the repercussions of such an outcome on the Irish economy, and the knock-on effects globally. Ireland has traditionally relied heavily on the UK for exports, and although this reliance has eased somewhat in recent years, 9% of our total exports are still to our nearest neighbours. This is notwithstanding the World Trade Organisation’s latest ruling that has paved the way for a fresh round of U.S. tariffs on EU goods to the tune of $7.5bn.

Granted, this is a worst-case scenario. Recent legislation in the form of the ‘Benn-Act’ provides us with some solace. This Act forces the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to advocate for an extension on the October 31st deadline if Brussels is dissatisfied with whatever deal is proposed. However, loopholes in this legislation have already been identified, and Johnson’s comments at the latest Tory conference that Britain will leave the EU ‘come what may’ paint a foreboding picture.

Perhaps it’s fitting that our fate may be sealed on Halloween. I, for one, will be dressing up as the world’s most recent judicial champion, Lady Hale.

Everything Else

  • The escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is not expected to end anytime soon;
  • Did you know Japan and South Korea are also embroiled in a trade war with global economic implications?
  • The over-valuation of housing isn’t just a problem in Ireland; there’s a global property bubble, the bursting of which could prove disastrous;
  • This week, sharp falls were recorded in the Asian, U.S., and European markets, signalling that a recession may well be due;
  • The result of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election could inject even more volatility into an already fracturing global market.

So there you have it.

Financial and economic warning lights are flashing, and if I were a government economist I’d be shaking in my boots.

What would another global financial crisis look like as we approach the end of the decade? In light of recent calls for a lower intake of domestic students, and without increased government funding, what would be the impact on Trinity? Would more cuts be implemented, or would our focus shift to further commercialisation? How would a country only recently getting back on its feet after years of economic turmoil, but still wildly indebted, fare in future?

My message is this: there is a strong possibility of another global economic downturn occurring within the next 15 months. Rather than rest on our laurels, here are some things we can do to prepare ourselves financially. They won’t provide us with total financial security, but they may soften the inevitable blow.

There are still a lot of variables at play, particularly in relation to Brexit, that may bring with them a slightly more positive outlook.

What’s certain, however, is that the hum of our global economy is slowing, and our ears must be pricked toward it. The writing on the wall is thickening, and thus we must read it.

Data – The World’s Most Valuable Resource?

By Luz Cuentas

Origin

It is strange to think that this notion was first proposed in 2006. At the time, the exponential growth of social media as an integral part of many people’s lives across the world was at its infant stage. Yet this is what British mathematician Clive Humby remarked when he said that “Data is the new oil.” It is worth noting that this idea only really became more widespread and a popular source for debate when The Economist released an article in May 2017 called “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data.” The question resurged again this year following the premiere of Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim’s documentary film “The Great Hack” at Sundance Film Festival. “The Great Hack” is centred around the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. Its subsequent rave reviews by critics resulted in the release of their documentary on streaming giant Netflix in July which gained this notion even more exposure to a global audience. Ring the alarm bells, your personal information has now replaced oil as the world’s most valuable resource. Or has it really?

Oil as the World’s Most Valuable Resource

Just over a century ago, oil was undoubtedly the world’s most valuable commodity – and with good reason too. Global crude production of oil was at its highest at the start of the 20th century since its emergence in the mid 19th century. However, it was only after the 1950s that oil emerged as the global powerhouse of energy supply, replacing its predecessor, coal. Taking the example of the American oil market in the 1880s, the implementation and subsequent rise of managerial capitalism as a way of structuring the business by John D. Rockefeller and 39 other allied companies owned by his associates led to the establishment of the Standard Oil Trust. This resulted in the Standard Oil Trust controlling almost 90% of the kerosene produced in the United States – one of the earliest examples of modern monopolies. The economies of scale generated by Rockefeller and his partners led to oil overhauling coal as the primary source of energy powering the United States. This example soon occurred in many other countries worldwide. Coal was replaced by oil as the world’s most valuable commodity because oil became much cheaper and more accessible than coal despite both of them being finite.

The Rise of Data

So, where does data come into all of this? Well, oil seems to be running into the same problems that its predecessor, coal ran into at the turn of the 20th century. The argument for data becoming more valuable than oil as a resource is not as ludicrous now as it was in 2006. Why? Oil is of course finite too. Many would argue that data is also much cheaper and more accessible now than ever before. Most of us hand in our personal details and information to “The Big Five” technology giants Alphabet (parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft on a daily basis. We can also access all of these websites, software services and social media platforms for “free”. Likewise, these technology giants can also access our personal data and possibly more for “free”. Hence, this argument is definitely more valid and logical now more than ever. “The difference between oil and data is that the product of oil does not generate more oil (unfortunately), whereas the product of data (self-driving cars, drones, wearables, etc) will generate more data (where do you normally drive, how fast/well you drive, who is with you, etc).” This remark was made by Piero Scaruffi, author of “A History of Silicon Valley” in 2016. Hence this leads us to the conclusion that unlike coal and oil, data are not finite.

Data reserves will not run out the same way an oil reserve will because the human population will undoubtedly keep growing. This of course leads to an infinite source of data from future generations. Our data is also much cheaper and easier to access now as seen in “The Great Hack” with the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. So our vulnerability to have our political views influenced and potentially changed using these “The Big Five” technology giants is potentially at its maximum threat level. Can a monetary value be placed on such a concept? Maybe not but all of these arguments pave the way for the proposal of data being the world’s most valuable resource as a very convincing notion.

The Economic Impact of UAV Technology: Regulatory Approvals Paving the way for a Billion Dollar Industry?

While the concept of an unmanned aerial vehicle (hereinafter UAV), also known as a drone, delivering products may seem futuristic it is set to become a reality. Given that, the Irish Aviation Authority (hereinafter IAA) have shown a willingness to support drone airspace. This is hardly surprising when considering that, according to Goldman Sachs, UAV technology is estimated to be worth $100 billion, in market opportunity, to the worlds’ global economy by 2020.

With the fastest area of growth projected to be in the commercial and civil sector. For instance, a study conducted by PwC has suggested that UAV powered business operations could potentially be worth $127 billion. While, UAV technology, which is of military origin, is likely to be as ground-breaking as similar products of military origin, such as the internet and GPS. It is questionable whether its value will be derived from its hardware which has low production costs and is, therefore, unlikely to drive industry growth. Since the technology used in this area can be easily reproduced, growth in this area is likely to be in services that operate and manage drones. For instance, Amazons’ drone delivery service, PrimeAir, which has been described as ‘ground-breaking’.

Although UAV’s have the potential for enormous market opportunity, regulatory approval is needed to start operations and to generate profits. For instance, in the U.S the Federal Aviation Administration (hereinafter FAA) must grant an air carrier certificate before commercial UAV operations can be commenced. Though Wing Aviation became the first U.S company that received FAA approval other companies such as Amazon, and UPS are still awaiting approval. In Ireland, Manna, which aims to facilitate “3-minuet food delivery” using UAV technology, should become a reality by Q1 of 2020. While the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) and Rockets Order S.I. 563 of 2015 outlines that UAV registration is mandatory in Ireland for vehicles over 1kg.

It is submitted that since drone airspace is a new concept a more comprehensive framework will be needed. For instance, in April 2019 an Airbus A320 landing in London Gatwick had to swerve to avoid collision with a UAV. However, the IAA has indicated that persons operating drones illegally will be subject to the full rigors of the law. Moreover, in June 2019 the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/945 & Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/947 published European rules on UAV’s to ensure that UAV operations across Europe are safe. Given, the novel nature of commercial UAV activity safety has been a paramount concern for regulators. 

Due to economies of scale UAV technology is predicted to play a larger role in our everyday lives. Furthermore, there may be financial incentives for using this technology. For instance, in the construction industry, when lease agreements are in place, the lessor would likely qualify for tax deductions. While data privacy concerns and infringements of General Data Protection Regulations (hereinafter GDPR) have been raised. These concerns may likely be mitigated if commercial UAV’s operate using Lidar, Sonar, and GPS without cameras. The impact of the UAV regulations and whether they will bring harmony and economic growth to this area remains to be seen.

Brace for Impact: The A380’s Crash Landing into Failure

In May of this year the first A380 was delivered to the Japanese carrier ANA, though it was a first for the airline, it was one of the last for Airbus since it had announced just 3 months earlier that it would finally stop the production of the A380 by 2021, citing insufficient demand as the main reason. The history of the airliner is riddled with environmental, political and financial issues that led the A380 to become not only the biggest plane ever, but also the biggest commercial failure the aviation industry has ever seen.

Airbus vs Boeing

Before the turn of the century, two decades after the launch of the 747 ‘Queen of the Skies’ (also known as the Jumbo Jet), Boeing had already begun to realise that airlines were less and less interested in very large aircraft, be it for increasing fuel prices or changes in consumer behaviour. Instead of launching yet another variation of the jet, it chose to invest on developing new, smaller aircraft like the 777 and most recently, the 787. Meanwhile in Europe, Airbus had finally drawn up the courage to start developing an aircraft larger than the 747. Since the other two major aircraft manufacturers, Lockheed Martin and McDonnell Douglas, were finally out of the picture, Airbus saw this as a window to compete directly with Boeing for the large aircraft market, or so they thought. Boeing had been aware since the early 90’s that it was impossible to find the demand for a superjumbo in the near future, and it voiced its concerns loud and clearly when Airbus approached them with the offer of a jointly-produced superjumbo. It seems, however, that Airbus was reluctant to listen to Boeing it decided to carry on with the project, solo. Though sometimes it might not be in a company’s best interest to listen to their competitor, Airbus completely disregarded the warning Boeing had sent them.

Putting All Their Eggs in One Basket

In recent years, the A380 has basically become a synonym for Emirates, its largest operator. Which is why when Emirates cut their order for the superjumbo by over 50 aircraft, the end of the A380 was inevitable. The Dubai-based airline turned the A380 into a product of luxury, decadence and excessiveness. Their superjumbos have showers, lounges and many other features that other airlines would never even dream of having on board. Because of this, it was no surprise that Emirates was one of the main reasons why other airlines decided to stay away from the A380. Though most American airlines had never actually considered buying the aircraft due to its oversized operating costs, it turns out that some of them could not compete with the over-the-top-ness of Emirates. In fact, research found that most consumers now connect the A380 to Emirates, which in turn means on-board showers and other luxuries. According to the CEO of American Airlines, these types of features are only economically viable in companies that are largely state funded, much like Emirates and its compatriot Etihad. So, for most American and European airlines, the A380 would mean disappointing consumers whose expectations would have been way too high. Regardless of the branding disaster Airbus found itself in by relying so heavily on Emirates, the fact of the matter is that no company should ever put all their hopes on just one client.

Confusing Grandioseness with Success

Airbus had it wrong from the beginning, the A380 was already shaping up to be one of the costliest projects in the history of aviation, with development costs soaring above $25 billion American dollars. The airliner has a listing price of around $400 million dollars per unit, but it has been reported that Airbus was so desperate to sell the plane that most sales went for under $200 million dollars. The A380 doesn’t fare well in terms of operating costs either, the four-engine behemoth spends about $30,000 on fuel for every hour while flying, whereas Boeing’s newly-designed 787 spends just under $15,000 dollars of fuel per hour. The idea of having 800 seats to fill also sounds daunting for most airlines who prefer to play it safe and use aircraft like the 777 with seating capacities of around 200 to 300 passengers. In commercial terms, the A380 makes zero sense: its breakeven point is way too high; it costs too much to operate and it’s just way too big.

However, the politics behind the A380 are almost too good to be true. Even though Airbus is a European company, with CEO’s from different countries alternating in order to guarantee fairness, there were some goals they all followed, independent of their nationality. The A380 was conceived at the height of the technological race of the early 2000’s, meaning national parties were keen on using the A380 as a way to keep Europeans neck-to-neck with Americans engineers. It also meant that, in France, thousands of skilled workers would be employed for decades as the project developed from concept to reality. At the end of the day, the plan worked: the A380 became a symbol of technological advancement and was a huge engineering feat, while also employing more than 5000 people over the course of the years.

The politics behind the A380 basically blinded Airbus executives to the huge red flags that were coming up everywhere, in order to benefit the parties in power at the time. Left to scramble with the failure the A380 has become, Airbus has hopefully learned that political greatness is not necessarily a synonym for profitable success.

Cold War II: US / China Trade Hostilities Intensify

  • After a breakdown in talks in May, America imposed tariffs on another $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
  • Economic leaders have warned of the worsening detrimental impact on the global economy, as China retaliated with a $60 billion tariff on American exports. 
  • Now Trump says he will raise tariffs further (on another $300 billion worth of goods) if his Chinese counterpart fails to join him at the G20 later this month.

The US government’s weaponization of its role as an economic superpower is a dramatic deviation from prior administrations’ approach to trade. Where before America sought out multilateral trade deals with allies and open engagement with competing economies (like China’s), today Trumponomics comprises a pursuit of bilateral trade deals with allies and a confrontational approach to nations it deems adversarial.

America’s levying of tariffs and its decision to instigate a trade conflict with China is intended to serve a dual purpose – to stimulate domestic manufacturing by making it financially preferable to produce at home what otherwise would have been imported from China, and to coerce Chinese leaders into adopting fairer trade and business practices. The first ambition appears to be making at least some headway, with a recent Bank of America report suggesting that American manufacturing firms are beginning to shift their supply chains away from China and increasingly localising. The second has seen no results – after months of trade talks between the two nations, throughout which many observers grew optimistic, diplomacy collapsed, and each side walked away having gained zero concessions. The conflict quickly escalated, with America slapping a further $200 billion worth of tariffs on Chinese imports, China retaliating in kind, and the global market reeling.

The result thus far has been that, according to The US China Business Council and the US-China Investment Project, US exports to China declined by 7% and Chinese investment in the US tumbled by 60% in 2018. The figures for 2019 are set to paint an even grimmer picture with the escalation of the trade struggle.

The former Treasury Secretary and Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson is gloomy about the precedents set by Trump’s America First policy, warning of a looming “Economic Iron Curtain”, one that “throws up new walls on each side and un-makes the global economy, as we have known it.” He suggests that the intensifying clash between the US and China extends beyond trade and the ratcheting up of tariffs, and that even if a deal is achieved their relationship will remain invariably tense. As set out by The Economist in The Trade War and Big Tech, “The trade war between America and China has already spread from tariffs to encompass legal extradition, venture capital and the global dollar-payments system.”

The most compelling case to be made for this is the American government’s all-out warfare on the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. On May 15th the American Commerce Department announced that domestic firms would need a special licence to do business with Huawei, and the government has attempted to shut the firm out of its technological infrastructure while imploring its allies to do likewise. America also seeks the extradition of Huawei’s CFO in order to prosecute her for eluding sanctions on Iran. The US administration argues from a national security standpoint – that such is the effort to prevent the Chinese government from exploiting Huawei devices to spy on US citizens. Huawei have responded publicly, stating that they are not obligated to do what the Communist Party tells them. Trump said last weekend that his administration’s endeavour to ban Huawei from America’s digital network could end as part of a trade negotiation with China, which appears to contradict his prior stance that the company threatens national security.

Trump’s approach to trade may be overly aggressive and economically destabilising given its erratic implementation and unpredictability, but it is important to note that many of his concerns are justified. China and its businesses are accused by the West of shirking the World Trade Organisation’s economic rules (of which China has been a member since 2001). Its system of state capitalism means Chinese firms are often impelled to engage in theft of technology at the behest of the Communist Party, and when American and other western businesses wish to enter the Chinese market, they are pressured to hand over intellectual property in exchange for permission to do business there. This is due to China’s restrictive business laws which obligate foreign companies to form joint ventures with domestic Chinese companies when they set up shop, and these enforced partnerships involve a so-called “technology transfer”. Calls for action transcend party lines in American politics – Republicans and Democrats agree that China ought to be confronted.

But many fear the current government uses tariffs less as a tool for bettering economic relationships, and more as a cudgel for wresting concessions from trade partners. America is weaponizing its role as an economic superpower not only to hurt its adversaries’ economies, but also to compel its allies into acquiescing to its demands – which sometimes are not even related to trade. On May 30th, Trump threatened Mexico with a 5% tariff on all its exports to America, rising by 5% every month to 25% by October if immigration flows do not fall. This would have disastrous repercussions for the Mexican economy – according to Citibank 25% tariffs would crush the peso’s value by 59%, stating with optimism that “the consequences of this policy could be so extreme we see it as unlikely to happen”. Even so, Trump’s use of the threat of tariffs as retaliation for something that is not related to trade (immigration levels) is unprecedented.

The US president will meet Xi Jinping later this month at the G20 summit, and the hope is that a meeting of the minds will revivify trade negotiations. Trump’s threat to raise tariffs by a further $300 billion if Jinping fails to appear isn’t exactly damning, given that there has been no indication that the Chinese president plans to boycott the summit. The US president appeared to acknowledge the emptiness of the threat, stating: “I would be surprised if he didn’t go. I think he’s going. I haven’t heard that he’s not. We’re expected to meet and if we don’t that’s fine and if we do that’s fine.” In the meantime, trade between the two nations will continue to plummet, and the global economy will bear the burden.

How the Internet of Things is Changing Business

John Fink

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a relatively new term used to describe the relationship between modern digital technologies; it is a paradigm under which consumer technologies record data about their usage and operation and share it with relevant devices for certain purposes in a sprawling network of interconnected machines. The power of the Internet of Things is in task automation, by using the data recorded from usage analytics, devices within the IoT can satisfy simply and repetitive tasks with minimal to no human input. It allows for your home thermostat to know when you’ve arrived home based on your phone’s location data, and warm up your house for you; Or it sends you an email when the postman was detected as arriving at your front door through your IoT security camera. The potential for what tasks can be automated, and what quality of life improvements can be developed, are vast in scope.

The market for the Internet of Things is rapidly expanding. Research, development, and marketing of IoT enable devices from major tech developers has seem a massive uptick over the past decade, and it’s slated to grow ever larger, you may be familiar with several AI personal assistants that have become more popular in previous years and are often bumbled with modern smartphones and speakers. As of late 2018, Forbes predicted that world spending on Internet of Things technologies will reach 1.2 trillion in 2022. This growth in popularity and creative application of IoT devices has not only affected consumers but has also changed business in more than a few ways. How businesses interact within themselves, with other businesses, and with customers all have the potential to change with IoT technology, and many already do. Using them, data about internal operations and external interactions can be unified within one interconnected network of devices for easy access and organization. Here are just a few of the ways that the Internet of Things has affected business.

  1. Product Management: Using scanners, cameras, digital ID tags, sensors for pressure/impact/temperature/humidity, and computers to manage them all, buyers and sellers in the IoT world can track not only the location of a shipped or stored product, but the conditions of its storage and handling. Grocers can ensure that perishable food was stored at the correct temperature throughout handling, and a window pane installer can ensure that a tempered glass screen was not dropped at any point while shipping.
  2. Operations Management: By connecting devices to your workflow that measure the frequency of the completion of a task, it can be quantified how productive certain measures are without the need of a human observer. Scanners, switches, and computers that record the use of devices on a worksite can compile their data into an accurate summation of workplace efficiency. In a complimentary light, devices like smart locks, lights, and HVAC systems can help to automate certain simple tasks, increase security, and decrease waste.
  3. Customer Management: Through IoT enabled consumer devices, notably the popular AI personal assistants that are found on smartphones and speakers (Alexa, Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant), businesses can interact with their customers, and make sales, on a completely unprecedented platform, with an unprecedented amount of ease in making a sale for both buyer and seller. A good example of this is the Domino’s Pizza Alexa skill, by downloading it, you can shout at your Alexa enabled TV or speaker to order your favorite pizza without even requiring you to pick up your phone. This benefits Domino’s in that no employee time (and therefor, company money) is utilized to make the sale.

These are just a few of the ways that IoT devices are changing business. Several modular and bespoke technologies/software have been released recently with the aim of increasing consumer and business interconnectivity with the internet of things. Such devices are the raspberry pi and other popular small computer kits, the Amazon Alexa skills kit, AI assistant control interfaces like the Google Assistant Home, and more. There is a great opportunity now for businesses not only to integrate these technologies into their workflow, but to develop services that utilize the consumer versions of these technologies to increase their level of customer interaction.

These 10 Companies Control Almost Everything we Consume

It’s a scary thought isn’t it. All of our favourite brands owned and controlled by no more than 10 individual companies. How is it possible for such a small number of companies to be associated with every single major food and drink brand that we have ever come across and who are they? Some of them you will most likely recognise and some maybe not. 6 of these companies are American, 1 is Swiss, 1 is British, 1 is French and there is also a British-Dutch company.

Oxfam released the information as a way of spreading awareness about the huge concentration of market power in the industry so that people would be aware of who owns what they are buying, ultimately in an effort to push these companies to make positive changes. Let’s take a look at them:

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  1. Mondelez
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Mondelez made about $25.9 billion in snacks in 2017. They own all of Cadbury (which incorporates a huge number of chocolate bars such as Crunchies, Freddos and Twirls) as well as other consumer favourites Oreo, Milka and Toblerone. They also own Sour Patch Kids and Kenco.

2.Unilever

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Another one of the well known companies that make up the 10 we will discuss. Unilever owns a vast wide-ranging catalog of brands including Lyons, Knorr and Hellmans. They are also the single biggest ice cream producer in the world with Magnum, Cornetto and Ben ‘n Jerrys under their belt. Unilever accumulated $51 billion in revenue in 2018.

3. Coca Cola

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Next on the list is soft drink giant Coca Cola. Coming in at a revenue in 2017 of 35.41 billion, the company is in charge of Coke, Sprite and Fanta. It is not just soft drinks that they own however as they also control Smart Water, Innocent Smoothies and Honest Tea.

4. Nestlé

The Swiss company made a staggering $90.8 billion revenue in 2017. These guys produce a lot of the chocolate we consume that Mondelez doesn’t under Cadbury. This includes KitKat, Smarties, Rolos and Aeros. They also own Nescafe of course but one that you mightn’t have been aware of is Polo mints being owned by Nestlé.

5. PepsiCo

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As far as drinks go PepsiCo owns Pepsi, Gatorade and Tropicana fruit juices. Interestingly they also own and market the Starbucks drinks available outside of Starbucks stores. Surprisingly Walkers is owned by PepsiCo, meaning that they control the production of Walkers crisps, Doritos and Cheetos. They recorded revenue of $63.53 billion in 2017

6. General Mills

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$15.62 billion is how much this company managed to make in 2017. They did this through their companies that include Green Giant, Old El Paso and Nature Valley. Not to mention the fact that they own 25 different cereal brands, one of which is Cheerios. Haagen-Dazs is another company owned by General Mills and they also own Parker Bros., the makers of Monopoly.

7. Kellogs

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Kellogs made $12.92 billion revenue in 2017, smaller compared to the rest of the companies in this domain but certainly not something to be scoffed at. This company produces Kellogs alongside over 30 other different cereals. Pringles, Nutri-Grain and Pop-Tarts are produced by Kellogs as well.

8. Associated British Foods

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The only solely British company in this group received revenue of roughly $19 billion in 2018. Probably owning some of the lesser known brands in the group, the company is in charge of brands like Twinings, Kingsmill and Ryvita Biscuits. They are however responsible for the export of massive American brands such as Tabasco hot sauce and Skippy peanut butter.

9. Mars

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Apart from the obvious, Mars owns pretty much any chocolate that isn’t Cadburys or Nestlé. Chocolate such as M&M’s, Galaxy and Snickers. What’s less obvious is their ownership of Wrigleys, which produces a plethora of chewing gum brands like Extra, Hubba Bubba and Orbit. Wrigleys also makes Skittles and Starbursts. The brands that few people would know are owned by Mars include Uncle Ben’s and Dolmio. $35 billion is how much revenue Mars made in 2017.

10. Danone

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In 2017, Danone received roughly $27.5 billion in revenue. Bottled water brands Evian and Volvic as well as yoghurts Activia and Actimel are owned by Danone. They also sell medical nutrition products such as Cow and Gate.

So there you have it. These are the 10 companies and the brands that they own. I’m sure you’ve heard of most if not all of these companies. However, it is still a little overwhelming to see just how many brands they own between them. Hopefully you got some interesting insight into who actually owns what brands and if you’re anyway similar to me, you will find it difficult to eat your Uncle Ben’s microwave rice knowing that it is made by the same company as your beloved M&M’s.

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