NETHERLANDS – Refresco, the world’s largest independent bottler of beverages, is set to be majority-owned by Global investment company KKR.  

This is after KKR signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Refresco Group for an undisclosed sum. 

KKR made its investment primarily through its Global Infrastructure strategy – the firm currently oversees about $40bn (£29.4bn) in infrastructure assets. 

Founded in 1999, Refresco has over 70 majority-owned manufacturing sites across Europe, the US, Canada, and Mexico which it uses to offer beverage solutions to retailers and branded drinks companies.  

KKR’s investment will help the Rotterdam-based contract manufacturing company to further expand its global footprint.  

Hans Roelofs, Refresco’s CEO, said: “To support further growth, we have explored the various alternatives available to us and believe that the investment by KKR is an incredibly positive development for the company.  

Like our existing shareholders, KKR is supportive of our strategy and will bring operational expertise, access to capital and a well-established network to support us in our growth, innovation and M&A strategy.” 

Current investors, PAI Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation will maintain a significant minority stake in the group. 

Full-year volumes rise 1.9% 

Earlier, Refresco released its full-year results for 2021 where total volume increased by 1.9% to 11,905 million liters compared to 11,679 million liters recorded in the year prior.  

Volume in North America increased by 3.0% and Europe increased volume by 1.3%, mainly driven by the expansion of contract manufacturing for Global, National, and Emerging (GNE) brands. 

In Q4 2021, the total Group volume was 2,843 million liters, an increase of 2.0% compared to last year’s result of 2,787 million liters.  

Overall volume increased in North America, mainly driven by volumes for GNE brands, whereas volume in Europe slightly declined, largely driven by the UK. 

Revenue in Q4 2021 increased by 6.7% to €1,047 million ( US$1.17 billion) compared to €981 million (US$1.096 billion) in Q4 2020, reflecting higher volumes and increases in input costs. 

Operating profit in Q4 2021 however almost halved to €26 million (US$29 million) compared to €42 million (US$47 million) in Q4 2020. 

On February 1, 2022, Refresco announced the completion of the acquisition of HANSA-HEEMANN, following the receipt of regulatory approval from competition authorities. 

Refresco had entered into an agreement with HANSAHEEMANN to acquire its five production sites in Germany on July 8, 2021.

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