Coca-Cola’s Australian and European distributors will merge into a single entity after the Sydney based Coca-Cola Amatil voted in favour of the European bottler’s $9.68 billion takeover bid.
Coca-Cola Amatil confirmed on Friday its independent shareholders had unanimously approved the buyout by Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP).
The deal is a significant triumph for CCEP which has been circling the Australian bottler for more than two years. After several low-ball offers were knocked back, the European company finally made progress late last year with an improved offer that Amatil CEO Alison Watkins conceded was “in shareholder interests”.
However, after concern was raised by shareholders that the numbers were still too low, CCEP sweetened its takeover offer in February to A$13.5 per share (up from A$12.75).
CCEP Chief Executive Damian Gammell has described the merger as “a unique and tremendous opportunity to combine two of the world’s best bottlers”, adding: “Western Europe of course remains a fantastic place to be. However, it is now the right time to take our proven playbook and apply its success to these new markets.”
CCEP was born from a 2016 merger of three European bottlers. Today, it is the world’s largest bottler by revenue, operating in 13 countries including the UK, Germany and Spain, serving over 300 million consumers. Amatil has 32 production facilities spanning Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, employing more than 12,000 people across those territories.
The Dublin born Gammell is no stranger to the business now in his grasp. During 25 years’ leadership experience within the Coca-Cola system, he actually served as Group Commercial Director for Amatil. He has also seen, through his own eyes, the untapped growth opportunities across the region, particularly in Indonesia, one of the world’s largest beverage markets, where he was also previously based.
“Indonesia’s growth prospects are particularly attractive,” he said previously. “We are pleased that this transaction offers exposure to one of the most populous and dynamic emerging markets.”