The biggest brewing company in the world continues to shed assets following a merger from earlier this year. This time, though, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA announced on Wednesday it is selling its controlling stake of Coca-Cola Africa to Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) in a $3 billion deal. More specifically, this deal will see Coca-Cola KO pay $3.15 billion for the 54.5% equity stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, as well as its bottling interests in both Southern Africa and Central America—all of this will simply be refranchised.
Africa is presently quite an attractive market for the packaged food and drinks among Coca-Cola’s produce line as a result of the country’s growing middle class and increasing appetite and higher discretionary funds.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement quickly that is in everyone’s best interests,” explains Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) Chairman Muhtar Kent. “We will move forward with our long-term strategic plan in these important growth markets. We are continuing negotiations with a number of parties who are highly qualified and interested in these bottling territories and look forward to refranchising these territories as soon as practical following regulatory approval.”
You may be aware that AB InBev had agreed just last week to sell its stake in Distell Group Ltd to Public Investment Corp (of South Africa) in a deal worth approximately $645 million. And this deal came not even a week after AB InBev offloaded its Eastern European brands to Asahi, of Japan (for roughly $7.8 billion).
Accordingly, Coca-Cola Africa Executive Muhtar Kent said, “We are continuing negotiations with a number of parties who are highly qualified and interested. We look forward to refranchising these territories as soon as practical following regulatory approval.”
In addition, Coke has reported plans to hold all operations until they can appropriately refranchise the pieces to other existing partners. This, they say, is to keep with the global business model which handles the marketing and innovation and selling the beverage concentrate to a large, integrated network of regional and local bottlers who are tasked with bottling and distributing the drinks in their respective markets.
Such bottlers can include, then, Coca-Cola European Partners CCE.N, Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCH.L) and Coca-Cola Icecek (CCOLA.IS); all of these, of course, may be possible buyers of the assets.