Acquisition brings new categories, channels for Cott

by Monica Watrous    View Me on Google+
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TORONTO — Cott Corp. has acquired Aimia Foods Ltd., a privately-owned business based in Merseyside, United Kingdom, for a total value of $133 million, including earnout considerations.

The deal accelerates Cott’s diversification strategy as the beverage maker strives to expand its portfolio beyond the declining categories of carbonated soft drinks and shelf-stable juices. Aimia Foods brings a hot and cold beverage platform and multiple food service relationships to Cott’s United Kindgom and Europe business unit. In the year ended March 31, Aimia Foods had revenues of approximately $110 million.

“Aimia has extensive expertise in new product categories, packaging formats and trade channels, such as the packaging of powdered beverages, which we believe enhances the diversification opportunities available to the combined businesses,” said Jerry Fowden, chief executive officer of Cott. “Aimia’s core strengths lie in the manufacturing, sale and marketing of Aimia-owned and third-party licensed beverage brands across all sectors of the U.K. market, including food service, vending, cash and carry and retail. Aimia has been highly successful in maintaining strong relationships with leading brand-owners and outsourcing partners, and we look forward to continuing to build these relationships under Aimia’s current leadership team.”

The acquisition enters Cott in new categories of hot chocolate, coffee, malt drinks, creamers and cereals, and expands the company’s packaging capabilities with new formats that include pouches, jars, sticks, in-cup products, sachets and block-bottom bags. Cott said it also will benefit from Aimia’s presence outside the large-format retail and supermarket channel, with approximately 40% of revenues in wholesale, vending and food service channels and 35% of revenues from contract manufacturing. The companies share a low-cost operational approach and scalable infrastructure, creating a stable platform for future expansion.

“We firmly believe that bringing Aimia Foods into the Cott family will provide additional opportunities for the benefit of our employees and customers alike,” said Rob Unsworth, managing director of Aimia Foods. “Our leadership team is excited to work with Cott to keep building on the strong foundation already established.”

Cott expects the combination to be accretive in the first year with incremental revenue growth opportunities based on its expanded product portfolio and broader channel diversification.
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