Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling to buy Italian mineral water producer

by Eric Schroeder
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ATHENS, GREECE — Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. S.A. (C.C.H.B.C.) on Tuesday agreed to acquire, jointly with The Coca-Cola Co., 100% of the Traficante Group, a producer of a high quality mineral water in Italy with significant water reserves. The acquisition includes two production facilities in the south, as well as the national mineral water brand "Lilia" and "Lilia Kiss."

The total net consideration for the transaction, which is expected to be finalized in the second quarter of 2006, is €35 million ($41.6 million).

"Through today’s acquisition of Traficante, we have gained a very important foothold in Europe’s largest packaged water market," said Doros Constantinou, managing director of C.C.H.B.C. "Given the significant expansion in cold drink availability and sales force that has been built in Italy over the past years and the recent success of our route to market initiatives, we are well positioned to commercially develop the strong assets and excellent quality mineral water of Traficante. Furthermore, this transaction is consistent with our strategy to expand our non-carbonated soft drink offering."

C.C.H.B.C. is one of the world’s largest bottlers of products of The Coca-Cola Co. and has operations in 26 countries.

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