Coca-Cola confirms South Korean sale

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coca-cola South korea

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has this week confirmed the sale of its
South Korean bottling division to local group LG Household &
Health Care.

The Australia-based bottler will offload the division along with its related debt for about AUS$520 million to AUS$545 million, with the sale expected to be complete by October this year. The move, which has been anticipated for some time, comes amidst continued uncertainty over the future of the South Korean beverage market, as consumer demand turns away from traditional carbonated drinks. Through the deal, parent group the Coca-Cola Company, will claim a 10 per cent minority equity stake in the country's new bottling set up, according to CCA. CCA has controlled Coca-Cola's operations in South Korea since 1998. However, the group revealed last month that it had decided to sell its South Korean bottler due to changing demands in the market, and recent difficulties over an extortion attempt made in 2006. Last year, CCA posted a 10 per cent fall in its South Korean sales to about €40m, as consumers increasingly turned to healthier beverages like green tea, which saw sales double to €36m. Despite this dip, CCA recorded an improved performance from its South Korean operations in its latest half-year results, with operating profit rising 8.6 per cent to (€5.4m) for the period. It also made gains from an AUS$14m (€8.6m) insurance payout following the recalls after last years extortion attempt.

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