© Refresco/Richard Sinon
Refresco has announced it has completed the acquisition of Cott’s soft drinks business for $1.25 billion.
This merger means Refresco will become the largest independent bottler in Europe and North America, as its production capacity will rise to approximately 12 billion litres annually.
The combined business will operate 59 manufacturing facilities globally, with 26 sites in continental Europe, 22 in the US, six in the UK, four in Canada and one in Mexico.
Refresco claims its expanded capacity will help drive growth, increase profitability and allow the company to invest more in innovation and research.
The deal was agreed in July 2017 but faced several hurdles before the merger could be completed, including an investigation by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
The CMA conditionally cleared the deal earlier this month, though its approval requires Refresco to sell its Aseptic-PET facility in Nelson, Lancashire, to a suitable buyer before it officially sanctions the deal.
Until then, Refresco and Cott will operate independently in the UK, though integration will begin immediately in North America.
CEO of Refresco Hans Roelofs said: “Today’s completion signals an important moment reinforcing our position as the leading industry player. Combining the two businesses is in the heart of our buy & build strategy.
“The joined business will be well positioned to meet customers’ continuously changing needs and requirements and offers ample opportunity for employees to develop their careers in an increasingly international setting.
“The company has a well-balanced portfolio with exposure to all categories for retailers and a strengthened contract manufacturing exposure with unique geographical spread for branded beverage companies.
“With its increased scale, Refresco will have greater opportunities to invest in innovation, to further optimize our business and achieve profitable growth. I look forward to welcoming our new colleagues in the US, Canada, UK, and Mexico and to the exciting opportunities ahead.”
Jerry Fowden, CEO of Cott Beverages added: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the management and team members of Cott Beverages who have worked so hard to manage the business over the years and bring this transaction to fruition.
“The sale of our traditional beverage manufacturing business allows us to significantly deleverage our balance sheet and positions us well to focus on accelerating growth across our route-based services platform in water, coffee, tea, extracts and filtration solutions.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2023
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