Nestle, Coca-Cola to refocus B.P.W. joint venture on black tea

by Eric Schroeder
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND and ATLANTA — Nestle and The Coca-Cola Co. have agreed to refocus the activities of their Beverage Partners Worldwide (B.P.W.) joint venture on ready-to-drink black tea beverages, a move the two companies believe will accelerate the growth and bolster the market presence of B.P.W. The transaction, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close early 2007.

Black teas are among the most common and popular teas in the world. They include varieties such as Pekoe, Darjeeling and Assam, and are used to make a number of hot and iced refreshments.

The green tea-based functional drink Enviga, recently launched in the United States and scheduled for rollout in Europe in 2007, also will be marketed through the existing joint venture, the companies said.

"This agreement means Nestle and The Coca-Cola Co. will independently develop, produce and market ready-to-drink coffee and non-black tea based beverages," the companies said. "Both com-panies recognize the significant potential of these rapidly growing segments and will ex-pand their offerings in these categories by identifying innovative new products and creating a broader choice for consumers."

A 50-50 joint venture held by Nestle and Coca-Cola, B.P.W. was created in 2001 following a period of 10 years during which Nestle and Coca-Cola cooperated in a joint venture called Coca-Cola and Nestle Refreshments.

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