Major rPET supplier sued by Coke cuts production in hunt for buyer

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Recycling

Nestle Waters president and CEO Kim Jefferey
Nestle Waters president and CEO Kim Jefferey
After being sued by the beverage giant, Coca-Cola PET supplier Pure Tech Plastics has slowed down production as it searches for a buyer, with whispers or interest from PepsiCo or Nestlé Waters.

BeverageDaily.com broke news of Coke’s suit against Pure Tech in mid-April​, with the company pursuing a ‘complaint on contract’ for two loans totaling around $4m (₤3.16m).

We understand that this claim relates to monies loaned by Coke to Chicago-based holding company Re:Think Recycling Group, which allowed them to buy Pure Tech (which operates a plant in Long Island, New York State) in November 2008.

Creditor talks continue

Re:Think spokeswoman Julie Schaefer told BeverageDaily.com today: “As you know [from the April story] a loan expired, prompting some negotiations and discussions, which are occurring now.”

While talks continued, Pure Tech had since retained restructuring specialist Argus Management Corporation, which was entertaining offers for the company, she added.

Massachusetts-based financial consulting firm Argus provides management and advisory services to companies and owners dealing with financial and operating difficulties.

Interest from Pepsi, Nestle Waters?

Asked about whispers within the press of interest in the plant from both Nestlé Waters North America (which is seeking to significantly boost its rPET content) and PepsiCo, Schaefer said:

“I can’t confirm the source or any specific interest in the business for competitive reasons. However, I can tell you that the business at Pure Tech is good. Output, capabilities and demand are not an issue.”

Bottle-to-bottle recycling infancy

On March 3 Carbonlite opened a 220,000 sq ft, PET recycling plant to recycle 2bn PET bottles each year in California, with Nestlé Waters as a major customer.

Speaking at its opening, president and CEO Kim Jefferey (president) said: "More than one third of the production capacity will be used to help us make 50% recycled content bottles for Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water sold in California.

"We also hope to build a second facility with Carbonlite, which will allow at least one more of Nestlé Waters brands to be widely available in 50% recycled content," ​he added.

"Bottle-to-bottle recycling is in its infancy in the US, but we can reduce carbon, create green jobs and reduce non-renewable material use if we can increase recycling rates across the country,"​ Jefferey said.

Pure Tech is one of only several firms in the US to hold non-objection letters from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide post-consumer resin (rPET) for direct food contact applications.

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