ASIA – Coca-Cola European Partners, the largest independent bottler of Coke by revenue, made a non-binding offer to acquire 69.2% shares of Coca-Cola Amatil in an effort to expand in the Asia-Pacific region.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCL), based in North Sydney, has a market value of about US$7.8 billion and is one of the largest bottlers of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Australia based company is also one of the world’s five major Coca-Cola bottlers and its acquisition will give CCEP access to almost 300 million consumers in the Southern Hemisphere.

Such growth opportunities are all the more attractive in an industry facing slowing sales, partly due to the coronavirus pandemic, but also amid a broader shift by health-conscious consumers.

Damian Gammell, chief executive officer of Coca-Cola European Partners, said the acquisition would create “a broader and more balanced geographic footprint” that will “enable us to scale up even faster.”

Coca-Cola Amatil has 32 production facilities in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, according to its website.

The proposed acquisition, the largest deal involving an Australian company so far this year, would mark the first major cross-border transaction in the country since the pandemic curtailed much of the year’s merger activity.

Under the terms of the proposal: CCL’s Independent Shareholders would receive A$12.75 per share in cash while the Coca-Cola Company (KO) would receive A$9.57 per share in cash for part of their shareholding, which comprises 10.8% of CCL’s shares.

Coca-Cola has been transforming itself through takeovers as soft drinks face pressure from government authorities over an obesity crisis and consumers increasingly favor lower-calorie options.

The beverage company has also diversified into dairy and bought U.K. coffee chain Costa, while ceding bottling operations in India and acquiring others in Africa.

The world’s largest beverage company is also streamlining its structure, trimming its global business units to nine from 17.

 The company is also cutting the number of products it sells, with a goal of offering about 200 master brands, a 50% reduction from the current level.

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