CCE ‘in multi-billion pound merger talks’

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Coca-Cola Company is looking to simplify through mergers
Coca-Cola Company is looking to simplify through mergers

Related tags United kingdom Europe Coca-cola Cce

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has refused to confirm or deny whether it is in a three-way multi-billion pound discussion to combine its operations with two other European Coca-Cola bottling firms.

CCE was considering a three-way merger with the German bottler Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke and Coca-Cola Iberian Partners, which serves Spain and Portugal, reported the Financial Times (FT).

However, a CCE spokesman in the UK told “It’s our company policy never to comment on rumours or market speculation.”

CCE is one of many global firms that bottles Coca-Cola under license from the Coca-Cola Company.

Consolidate bottling

Coca-Cola in brief:

  • The Coca-Cola Company produces syrup concentrate, sold to bottlers worldwide.
  • Coca-Cola Enterprises is the world’s third largest Coca-Cola bottler and employs 4,000 people across the UK.

The merger would form part of the Coca-Cola Company’s plans to consolidate bottling operations around the world and cut expenses, according to industry commentators.

CCE is the world’s third largest independent bottler of Coca-Cola and has operations in Great Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands and Sweden.

The merger would allow CCE to control its costs, which had come under pressure from poor sales, according to the FT.

CCE’s second quarter results showed an overall dip in sales of 17.5% to $1.9bn. Sales volumes in Great Britain and continental Europe also declined by 1%.

Rising concerns from consumers

Rising concerns from consumers about the health implications of sugar and sugar-sweetened soft drinks had, in part, contributed to a decline in demand, according to CCE chairman and chief executive John Brock.

“The consumer environment across our territories continues to limit retail value growth, including the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink category,” ​he said.

“We are managing each element of our business to maximise the value of our brands, to sustain high levels of customer service and to improve our growth outlook.”

Sales and profits were expected to improve only marginally over the rest of the year, the report added.

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