Digests

Virgin is understood to be ready to launch an orange-based drink in France to compete with Orangina. Virgin Cola has been sold in France since the beginning of 1997.

Mller has increased its presence in the German yogurt market with the launch of Mllermilch Leicht & Fit and Mllermilch Fr Unterwegs. J Walter Thompson Frankfurt has produced TV advertising to go on air from February.

Van Duyn Group and OZ Group, two of the Netherland’s leading flower producers, have merged to form the Dutch Flower Group. The company becomes the market leader in Europe – ahead of Zurel and USA Floral Products.

Hachette Filipacchi has stopped publishing the Spanish version of Paris Match magazine after failing to maintain its target circulation of 100,000 copies.

Springer & Jacoby has left the German ad agency organisation GWA following a disagreement over non-remunerated pitches. The move follows last year’s pitch for Eurocard, in which Springer & Jacoby was the only agency to demand – and receive – a fee for its participation.

Billa, the Austrian supermarket operator, has introduced travel catalogues in its stores, offering customers package holidays to destinations such as Spain, Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria. The packages are operated by ITS Reisen, which, like Billa, is owned by Rewe.

The Spanish agency Ruiz Nicoli is thought to be close to signing a deal with the Bozell network. Ruiz Nicoli became fully independent in September last year when it bought Havas’ 49 per cent stake.

Booker is to sell its Spanish retail and wholesale interests. The decision covers the company’s four supermarkets, which trade under the name Gran Format, three cash-and-carry outlets and its food service and restaurant business.

Barcelona’s council has been criticised by representatives of Partido Popular, Spain’s main party of government (which has a minority presence in Catalunya) for raising the city’s promotional budget to more than Ps4,000m (17m) for this year. The figure includes an 18 per cent increase in the advertising budget.

CSA and TMO, the French market research companies, have merged to form CSA/TMO. Each agency will maintain links its international network – Euroquest and INRA, respectively.

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