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Unilever and PepsiCo extend Lipton ready-to-drink tea joint venture

By Rod Addy , 14-Sep-2007

Unilever and PepsiCo have agreed to extend their international partnership to distribute Lipton ready-to-drink tea products to 11 further countries.

The existing Lipton business had combined sales of euro 300M in 2006 and covered 40 countries. The 11 extra countries are Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Portugal, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa.

The move will double the volume distributed through the companies' current joint venture alliance and will enable more ready-to-drink tea markets to be opened.

Both companies will continue to own 50% of the joint venture, with PepsiCo paying Unilever an undisclosed sum for its share of the businesses in the new markets being transferred.

The transaction is expected to be effective from the beginning of January 2008.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our position in one of the fastest growing beverage categories," said Michael White, chief executive officer of PepsiCo International and vice chairman of PepsiCo. "Lipton is one of the world's great beverage brands and will continue to be a key pillar of our strategy to offer international consumers a portfolio of convenient beverages to address a wide range of needs."

Vindi Banga, Unilever's president for foods, said: "This agreement gives us the opportunity to realise the long-term potential of the Lipton ready-to-drink brand and Pepsi's expertise in the drinks sector will help us drive innovations faster and more competitively."