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Cott sells off drinks manufacturing businesses

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By James Ridler+

Last updated on 09-Aug-2017 at 12:18 GMT2017-08-09T12:18:58Z

Cott’s UK manufacturing business is to be sold as part of a £959M deal to Dutch beverage firm Refresco
Cott’s UK manufacturing business is to be sold as part of a £959M deal to Dutch beverage firm Refresco

Soft drink manufacturer Cott Beverages’ UK manufacturing business is to be sold by its US-headquartered owner Cott Corporation, as part of a deal worth almost £1bn.

The £959M ($1.25bn) sale to Rotterdam, Holland-based Refresco included Cott’s factory in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, which manufactures the Macb range of still and sparkling flavoured water.

The deal also includes Cott’s US and Mexico manufacturing businesses, but excludes its cola company – RCI International – and its associated concentrate facility.

Cott said the sale would allow the company to focus on its “better for you products” and its growing filtration products, water, coffee and tea categories.

Expected to close later this year

The acquisition is expected to close later this year, subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval, Refresco shareholder approval and working capital adjustments.

Refresco’s chief executive officer Hans Roelofs said: “We have been focused on growing our platform in both North America and Europe and this transaction is a significant enhancement to our will provide Refresco with enlarged scale, synergies, and savings alongside Refresco's manufacturing footprint, geographic diversity and product range.

“We will now have a well-balanced portfolio with exposure to all categories for retailers in North America and Europe, in addition to a scale contract manufacturing footprint throughout these geographies from which to continue to grow organically.”

‘Manufacturing footprint’

Barclays acted as financial advisor to Cott while law firm Drinker Biddle & Reath acted as legal advisor. In addition, Cott turned to CMS for advice on Dutch law matters relating to the transaction.

Meanwhile, meat processor Hilton Food Group has confirmed reports that it is in talks to buy another company, believed to be Icelandic Seachill.

Hilton said it was in the early stages of talks for a potential acquisition last week (August 1). The food group – which supplies the UK’s largest supermarket Tesco – had been reported to be in exclusive talks with Icelandic Seachill’s owner, the Enterprise Investment Fund.

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