BEVERAGE BITES: 19/01/15-23/01/15

Refresco Gerber under hammer for $1.7bn, Coke splashes cash on London Eye

By Ben BOUCKLEY

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: Ramón Pérez Niz/Flickr
Photo: Ramón Pérez Niz/Flickr

Related tags Coffee

Here’s what made the headlines during the working week commencing Monday January 19 2015, in our new section Beverage Bites, which brings you the best bite-sized beverage news.

Refresco Gerber: Yours for a cool $1.7bn?

Rotterdam-based soft drinks bottler Refresco Gerber is one of those massive companies that flies under the radar – perhaps simply because it’s a private label bottler that doesn’t own its own brands. Well, now it’s reportedly under the auctioneer's (so to speak) hammer, with Reuters stating last night that it’s the subject of bids from three private equity companies for a cool €1.5bn.

Coke splashes cash on London Eye sponsorship

As my colleague Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn reported on Monday, Coke drew fire for sponsoring the London Eye – yet another bit of London seemingly up for sale. ‘What’s the problem?’ one might ask, given the pragmatic English approach of attracting business investment for the arts and other cultural attractions.

Well, public health campaigners claim it’s inappropriate for a major family attraction like the London Eye to gain sponsorship from a ‘sugary drinks company’. Actually, I think they have a point, and there’s a slight disconnect here, isn’t there, given a UK broadcast media ban​ on adverts and sponsorship for high fat, salt and sugar foods around programs made for kids.

And though the Eye looks racy in red, you have to ask where you’d draw a line, given reports that staff at the opening last weekend were all dressed in branded outfits, while pods and the cafe were bedecked with advertisements. What’s next? The Tower of London sponsored by Dunkin’ Donuts?

EU extends D.E Master Blenders, Mondelez merger review

Reuters also reported last night that EU antitrust regulators have extended the deadline for their review of a mega-merger that will bring together Mondelez International and D.E. Master Blenders’ coffee businesses.

The May 13 deadline comes in the aftermath of a preliminary review that said the merger may reduce competition in roast, ground coffee and filter pads in France, Denmark, Austria and Latvia.

The European Commission may demand more concessions or simply approve the deal, between Mondelez (Carte Noire, Tassimo) and D.E. Master Blenders L’Or, Senseo brands.

If it goes ahead, the proposed $5bn venture JV is expected to net revenue of $7bn+ in its first year​, with Mondelez set to receive circa. $5bn in cash and a 49% stake in the new company.

Scottish craft brewers start new trade association

According to The Scotsman ​eight Scottish craft brewers have clubbed together to create (drum roll please!) The Brewers Association of Scotland (TBAS), to represent firms that turn over £30m+ and employ more than 246 staff.

Douglas Sharp, founder and CEO of Edinburg-based brewer Innis & Gunn, is the first chair of TBAS, and he said the craft segment needed a governing body in Scotland to mirror those abroad, where the benefits were clear.

According to Sharp these include more choice, greater levels of consumer understanding, high quality, higher growth and targeted support from government agencies.

Canadian Beverage Association slams soda tax call

On Wednesday The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) attacked an Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention call for a soda levy – slamming it as a “tax grab that would provide no benefit to consumers”.

CBA President Jim Goetz said: “Calling for a tax on individual foods and beverages in an effort to change public health doesn’t work – in fact research has shown it to have to meaningful impact. Science shows that education, not taxation, is the key to improving public health.”

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