Coca-Cola makes juicy Russian acquisition

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drink Coca-cola Coca-cola hellenic

Coca-Cola Hellenic bottling company yesterday announced it has
agreed to acquire Russian beverage group Aquavision as it aims to
tap the full potential for soft drink sales in the country.

The €195m purchase will grant the bottler Aquavision's entire assets, including its production plant near Moscow, and beverage brands like the recently launched botaniq juice brand.

Such a move would give the company a greater presence within the country's soft drink market, ramping up pressure on its rivals to meet consumer demand for healthier alternatives to existing products on the market.

By taking control of Aquavision's production plant, Coca-Cola Hellenic will now control four production lines - two of which are aseptic - just outside of Moscow, which is currently Russia's largest consumer market.

The deal also includes the company's warehouse space at the site.

Coca-Cola Hellenic's managing director Doros Constantinou, believes the enhanced production capabilities will grant the group a key advantage over its rivals in terms of production. "

This acquisition provides us with immediate access to state-of-the-art production facilities and significant expanded capacity to meet the growing consumer demand for our products, allowing us to further build upon our current leadership position in this high potential market," he said.

However, Coca-Cola is not alone in showing a greater interest in stepping up beverage production to target the huge potential for products linked to healthier lifestyles in Eastern Europe.

Just last month, PepsiCo stepped up its presence in Eastern Europe soft drinks production by acquiring an 80 per cent stake in one of Ukraine's leading juice names.

Through the $542m (€406m) purchase of the Sandora company, Pepsi claims it now holds a dominant role within the country's burgeoning market for fruit juice production.

The purchase included Sandora's two productions plants situated in Nikolaev, along with its sales and distribution capabilities.

Coca-Cola Hellenic bottling company was founded in August 2000 following the merger of the Athens-based Hellenic Bottling Company with Coca-Cola Beverages.

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