Dutch bottler Refresco accelerates buy and build strategy to expand global footprint

NETHERLANDS – Refresco, Netherlands-based beverage bottler has embarked on an aggressive expansion plan seeking to make multiple acquisition in various markets as part of the company’s buy and build strategy aimed at propelling growth and expanding its global footprint.

Refresco became the world’s largest independent bottler with leadership positions across Europe and North America following last years acquisition of Cott’s bottling activities.

The company has now entered into an agreement with AZPACK (Arizona Production & Packaging) to acquire their manufacturing activities located in Tempe, Arizona, USA.

With this agreement, Refresco further expands its footprint in North America to enable strategic growth in the region.

Hans Roelofs, CEO Refresco Group, explains: “North America is a large and very diverse market with a lot of growth potential in different drinks categories. Our current footprint consists of 27 locations in North America, serving national and international branded beverage companies and retailers.

“With the addition of AZPACK to the Refresco Group, we will be even better positioned to service customers in the Southwestern USA across many categories, including energy drinks and innovative sports drinks.

“AZPACK will have a specialist role in the Refresco Group, as they are known for their expertise in manufacturing complex niche products for branded beverage companies.”

Expansion in France

The company has also announced the potential acquisition of Britvic’s three juice manufacturing facilities in France.

The prospective transaction includes Britvic’s three bottling facilities in La-Roche-sur-Foron, Château-Thébaud and Nissan-lez-Enserune, related retailer brands business, the Fruité brand and a long-term contract manufacturing agreement with Britvic for manufacturing their brands Pressade and Fruit Shoot.

Britvic is a leading soft drinks company with distribution and operations in more than 50 countries globally. Refresco said the proposed transaction fits its strategy for growth in contract manufacturing especially in France, a market where the firm has earmarked for growth.

“France is an important market for Refresco and with this acquisition, we create a better national coverage and consequently further potential to serve customers’ demands. We currently provide Britvic with contract manufacturing services in Benelux and in the UK,” Roelofs said.

The moves complement the company’s recent acquisition of Coca-Cola European Partners plant in UK, and a strategic partnership with PepsiCo in Spain.

In its latest quarter, Refresco posted a pross profit margin of €446 million (US$490m) up from €408 million (US$448) in a similar period last year, while adjusted EBITDA increased 31.6% to €128 million (US$140m).

Commenting on the results, Roelofs said: “Strategically we are shifting towards the provision of total beverage solutions to our customers whereby our focus on added-value services, more complex products and a more sustainable use of materials is increasing the value we can bring.

“With the recent announcements, and a well-filled pipeline of potential acquisition targets, we continue to see ample opportunities for further growth.”

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