Finlandia was established in 1970 and is a leading vodka brand in Central and Eastern Europe with annual volumes of 2.7 million 9L cases globally, of which more than 60% is being generated within Coca-Cola HBC's geographic footprint.
The brand has already been distributed by Coca-Cola HBC for more than 17 years and the company says the acquisition will now allow it to grow the brand further.
Coca-Cola HBC – the Coca-Cola bottler which serves 29 countries across Western and Eastern Europe and Africa – has a portfolio which is primarily focused around soft drinks (including carbonated soft drinks, juices and water): but has set out its ambitions to become a ‘24/7 beverage partner’ with drinks to cover all occasions.
Premium spirits currently make up around 3% of its portfolio: with partnerships with Brown-Forman, Edrington, Campari, Nemiroff and Bacardi.
Coca-Cola HBC says that ownership of the Finlandia brand will enhance its premium spirits credentials; driving mixability opportunities with premium and super-premium Non-Alcoholic Ready-To-Drink (NARTD) products, helping capture more drinking occasions, and strengthening partnerships with customers in strategically important channels such as HoReCa.
Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO of Coca-Cola HBC, said: "Having been associated with the distribution of Finlandia for 17 years in several markets, we are excited by this unique and regionally relevant opportunity that will support the acceleration of our on-premise business across more of our markets.
"The proven complementarity of our premium spirits business with our strong NARTD portfolio enables us to offer solutions for a broad range of 24/7 consumption occasions, particularly socialising moments.
"We view this as an attractive investment and a natural evolution of our role as one of Finlandia's distribution partners, further attesting to the strength of our time-tested and wide-ranging partnership with Brown-Forman."
Lawson Whiting, CEO of Brown-Forman, said: "We are pleased to pass on the ownership torch of Finlandia to Coca-Cola HBC, who has proven to be a strong and reliable partner to our brands for more than 17 years. We believe Coca-Cola HBC is well-suited to support Finlandia's future stages of development. I am confident that Coca-Cola HBC's growth ambitions and capabilities in premium spirits, its critical mass and executional excellence, coupled with its leading sales and distribution credentials in the markets where it operates, will accelerate Finlandia's growth trajectory."
Finlandia is bottled by Anora Group plc in Finland based on a long-term production services agreement and is available in pure and in several flavored versions. The strategic long-term collaboration Anora has had with Brown-Forman will now continue between Anora and Coca-Cola HBC.
Transaction is expected in the second half of 2023 and is subject to regulatory approvals.