Coca-Cola, illycaffe enter R.-T.-D. coffee jv

by Keith Nunes
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ATLANTA – The Coca-Cola Co. and illycaffe SpA, Trieste, Italy, have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture focused on the ready-to-drink (R.-T.-D.) coffee segment. Illycaffe espresso coffees are sold in 140 countries and the company has annual sales of €246 million ($350 million).

"Illy is a proven leader with an uncompromising commitment to high-quality espresso coffee and a strong history of innovation with whom we are proud to partner," said Muhtar Kent president and chief operating officer, The Coca-Cola Co. "We will be able to bring our brand building and distribution expertise together with illy's premium brand reputation. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to meeting evolving consumer demands while creating additional value for our system, our customers and our shareowners."

Specifics regarding brands or distribution have not been finalized, but both companies expect the j.v. agreements to be signed by the end of the year.

Coca-Cola’s j.v. announcement comes a few weeks after PepsiCo, Inc, Purchase, N.Y., and Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, announced the expansion of their North American Coffee Partnership beyond North America. China will be the first country of focus for the expanded Pepsi-Starbucks partnership.

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