Cadbury buys US bottler

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cadbury schweppes, North america, Dr pepper snapple group, Drink

As part of a plan to sell its drinks business, Cadbury Schweppes
today said it has acquired the Southeast-Atlantic Beverage Corp.
(Seabev), the second largest independent bottler in the US.

The purchase was made through the company's Americas Beverages' unit from private shareholders. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, Seabev distributes much of Americas Beverages' portfolio, as well as licensed brands, throughout most of Florida and Northern Georgia. Seabev owns two manufacturing facilities and 16 warehouses and distribution centres, and employs about 900 staff. Seabev had revenues of $172m in 2006, and at 31 December 2006, gross assets of $53m, the company stated.. Cadbury Schweppes is the world's largest confectionery company and regional beverages businesses in North America and Australia. On 15 March this year, Cadbury Schweppes announced that it intends to separate its confectionery and Americas beverages businesses. Once the separation is complete, the company plans to rename as Cadbury plc, and undertake a cost reduction programme in order to "focus on fewer, bigger and more value-creating initiatives" and "significantly reduce complexity across all aspects of the business". Cadbury plans to close 15 per cent of its manufacturing sites around the world, and cut 15 per cent of its workforce. It hopes to increase its percentage margins to the mid-teens by 2011, from the 2006 confectionery margin of 10.1 per cent. The company estimated today that it will spend £450m (€666m), of which £50m (€74m) will be non-cash, on this cost reduction programme between 2007 and 2011. The company has also reorganised its confectionery business from three into four regions; Britain, Ireland, Middle East and Africa (BIMA) will come under one region, with Americas, Asian Pacific and Europe as the other three.

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