The Coca-Cola Company is to complete the refranchising of its bottling operations in North America as a non-binding letter of intent to acquire the company’s Canadian bottling business, Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada (CCRC), has been signed.
The acquirer will be a Canadian-based joint venture between Larry Tanenbaum, a Canadian businessman and philanthropist, and Junior Bridgeman, a former NBA player, and current CEO of Kansas City-based Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company.
Last November, Coke completed the refranchising of its US bottling operations, representing 60 transactions. It said the refranchised system is working to reinvent the future of the business, “especially in key areas such as portfolio diversification, packaging innovation, production, procurement, technology and pricing”.
The CCRC deal indicates the final step to complete all of Coca-Cola’s North American bottling operations. CCRC employs approximately 5,800 people and operates five production facilities and over 50 sales and distribution centres.
The aim is for the Coca-Cola system in North America to be comprised of economically aligned bottling partners that have the capability to serve major customers, coupled with the ability to maintain strong, local ties across diverse markets.
Jim Dinkins, Coca-Cola North America president
Coca-Cola North America president Jim Dinkins said: “Coca-Cola has been refreshing Canadians for more than 120 years and it was important for us to find the right partners that understand our business and the Canadian market.
“Junior Bridgeman was a proud customer of The Coca-Cola Company for more than 30 years before investing in our system as a bottler, demonstrating his passion for our business and our brands. When you combine that with Larry Tanenbaum’s successful track record and deep Canadian roots, this is the perfect partnership to continue to build our business in Canada with a highly local approach.”
Larry Tanenbaum said: “As a lifelong fan of Coca-Cola, I am delighted to be joining the Coca-Cola system. I have seen the company evolve over the years and know there is tremendous growth potential for The Coca-Cola Company’s broad range of brands in the Canadian market.
“There is already a strong foundation and I look forward to working alongside Junior to continue to build the business through great brands, strong local execution and exceptional customer service.”
Junior Bridgeman added: “Coca-Cola has been a big part of my life and I am excited for this opportunity to be part of the Canadian business. Larry and I are committed to building on the traditions of The Coca-Cola Company while leveraging our heritage of putting people first, serving our local communities, and refreshing Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2021
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