ITALY – Coca-Cola HBC also known as Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company has agreed to acquire a 30% minority stake in Italian coffee company, Casa Del Caffè Vergnano, for an undisclosed sum. 

Headquartered in Santena, Caffè Vergnano is described as one of the oldest coffee roasters in Italy with roots dating back to 1882. 

Caffè Vergnano’s boasts of a range of diverse products including traditional espresso in various blends, packages, and formats such as beans, roast, and ground coffee and single portioned pods. 

In 2020, Caffè Vergnano reportedly sold approximately 7,000 tons of coffee in more than 90 countries worldwide. 

CC Beverages Holdings II is reported to have made the acquisition on behalf of the Swiss-based bottler which is the world’s third-largest Coca-Cola anchor bottler in terms of volume with sales of more than 2-billion-unit cases annually. 

As part of the deal, the companies will enter into an exclusive long-term distribution agreement, which will see Coca-Cola HBC distribute Caffè Vergnano’s products in its 27 territories outside of Italy. 

This will significantly strengthen Coca-Cola HBC’s own portfolio of coffees which is currently comprised of the Costa Coffee collection. 

In addition to expanding the Swiss bottlers coffee portfolio, the Caffè Vergnano deal also marks an important step in its strategy to become the ‘leading’ 24/7 beverage partner across its markets. 

“With Caffè Vergnano, we are well positioned to build a total coffee portfolio that caters for a diverse range of consumer preferences,” said Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO of Coca-Cola HBC. 

“We are respectful of the company’s 140-year history and the dedication and passion of the four generations that created such a rich and renowned coffee brand, synonymous with the authentic Italian coffee experience. Our investment in Caffè Vergnano is aligned with The Coca-Cola Company as we have worked together on this opportunity.” 

Coca-Cola HBC’s plans to diversify its portfolio and become a 24/7 beverage partner are strategic as its main soft drinks business has been experiencing subdued growth as people ditch sodas for healthier beverages. 

“Soft drinks consumption continued to dwindle in the past half a decade with evolving consumer demand trends such as nourishment, low or no-sugar, natural, clean label and sustainability,” says Future Market Insights. 

Pursuing a portifolio diversification will thus ensure that the bottling company continues to achieve sustainable growth even when sales from soft drinks plummet.  

Meanwhile, Caffè Vergnano will utilise Coca-Cola HBC’s route-to-market network and commercial capabilities to aid its significant expansion. 

Franco and Carlo Vergnano, CEO and chairman of Caffè Vergnano, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Coca-Cola HBC as our new strategic partner to help accelerate our growth ambitions and support the journey of our brands outside our home market. 

“By combining Coca-Cola HBC’s expertise, know-how and critical mass, with our heritage coffee brand, great products and deep knowledge of the industry, we are confident this will prove a powerful partnership in growing our business further.” 

The transaction – which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals – is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021. 

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