CANADA – Refresco, a leading producer of soft drinks and fruit juices in US and Europe, has completed the acquisition of Cott’s soft drinks business worth US$1.25 billion to become the largest independent bottler in Europe and North America.

Cott has announced that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) finally approved the transaction in the sale of its Traditional Beverage Manufacturing Business to Refresco.

The merger will expand Refresco’s capability to approximately 12 billion litres in a year to offer a variety of non-alcoholic soft drinks to customers across Europe, US, UK, Canada and Mexico.

The terms of the transaction show that the sale will cover Cott’s North America, U.K., and Mexico businesses (excluding the RCI International division and its associated concentrate facility as well as the Aimia Foods division).

According to Refresco, the two companies will work together to foster growth, realize higher profits and offer quality service to customers through research and innovation.

“Today’s completion signals an important moment reinforcing our position as the leading industry player.

Combining the two businesses is in the heart of our buy & builds strategy. The joined business will be well positioned to meet customers’ continuously changing needs and requirements and offers ample opportunity for employees to develop their careers in an increasingly international setting,” said Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco.

The deal to take over Cott’s bottling activities was made in July 2017 but was questioned by the Competition and Marketing Authority, which raised concerns on the potential completion the acquisition would have brought in the UK.

According to the CEO, the deal increases the company’s production scale presenting it greater opportunities to invest in innovation and further optimize the business and achieve profitable growth.

“The sale of our traditional beverage manufacturing business allows us to significantly deleverage our balance sheet and positions us well to focus on accelerating growth across our route-based services platform in water, coffee, tea, extracts and filtration solutions,” said Jerry Fowden, CEO of Cott Beverages.

The combined portfolio from the two companies will enhance Refresco’s service delivery in offering consumers with a range of product and packaging combinations from 100% fruit juices to carbonated soft drinks and mineral waters in carton, PET, Aseptic PET, cans and glass.