Canadian Packaging

Cott to sell beverage manufacturing business in $1.25 billion deal

By Canadian Packaging staff   

General Aimia Foods beverage company acquisition Cott Corporation RCI International Refresco Corporation

Netherlands-headquartered Refresco purchasing all of Cott’s traditional beverage manufacturing business in all-cash transaction.

TORONTO and TAMPA, Fla.—Cott Corporation has announced it has agreed to sell its traditional beverage manufacturing business to Refresco Corporation for US$1.25 billion. Image above courtesy of Refresco/Richard Sinon.

The transaction includes Cott’s North America, U.K., and Mexico businesses, excluding the RCI International division and its associated concentrate facility as well as the Aimia Foods division.

For over 60 years Cott Beverages has been a leading manufacturer of a diverse mix of beverages for the retail trade and branded manufacturers, and is one of the world’s largest producers of beverages on behalf of retailers, brand owners and distributors, producing multiple types of beverages in a variety of packaging formats and sizes, including carbonated soft drinks, 100 percent shelf stable juice and juice-based products, energy drinks, clear, still and sparkling flavored waters, sports drinks, new age beverages, ready-to-drink teas, freezables and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages.

“After a thorough strategic review in 2013, we developed an accelerated diversification and acquisition strategy in order to transform our company and create a business weighted towards better for you products in categories with topline growth, a more diverse channel and customer base, higher margins, and strong free cash flow generation. This transaction is very much in line with this strategy, and enables our traditional business to become an integral part of a larger global beverage manufacturing company that pursues the same high customer service and quality standards Cott has been known for throughout its history,” comments Cott Corporation chief executive officer Jerry Fowden.

Cott Beverages generates approximately $1.7 billion in revenues and has a strong and experienced management team with longstanding customer relationships in North America and the U.K. Subsequent to the closing of the transaction, Cott Beverages’ leadership team will report to the Executive Board of Refresco.

“We are excited to welcome Cott Beverages to the Refresco family. We have been focused on growing our platform in both North America and Europe and this transaction is a significant enhancement to our buy and build strategy which will provide Refresco with enlarged scale, synergies, and savings alongside Refresco’s manufacturing footprint, geographic diversity, product range and customer service,” states Refresco chief executive officer Hans Roelofs.

“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 both organically and by pursuing our buy and build strategy,” he continues.

Strategic Rationale  
“The sale of Cott’s traditional business substantially accelerates our ability to deleverage the business and positions us well to grow our water, coffee, tea and filtration businesses both organically and through value accretive tuck-in acquisitions while also giving us the optionality to expand our platforms through larger scale acquisitions if and when the right value enhancing opportunities present themselves,” explains Fowden.

2016 Pro Forma Revenue by Product (CNW Group/Cott Corporation)

The transaction is expected to:

  • Improve top-line growth and stability;
  • Enhance overall gross profit and EBITDA margins;
  • Significantly reduce net leverage;
  • Reduce customer concentration;
  • Reduce commodity exposure;
  • Shift Cott’s core focus to the growing categories of water, coffee, tea and filtration.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in the second half of 2017, is subject to certain closing conditions including regulatory approval, Refresco shareholder approval, and working capital adjustments.

Cott is a diversified beverage company with a leading volume-based national presence in the North America and European home and office bottled water delivery industry, a leader in custom coffee roasting and blending of iced tea for the U.S. foodservice industry, and one of the world’s largest producers of beverages on behalf of retailers, brand owners, and distributors. Information on Cott available at

Refresco is the leading independent bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for retailers and A-brands with production in Benelux, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the UK and the US. Refresco offers an extensive range of product and packaging combinations from 100 percent fruit juices to carbonated soft drinks and mineral waters in carton, PET, Aseptic PET, cans and glass.  Refresco is headquartered in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and has about 5,500 employees. Information on Refresco available at


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