PepsiCo, Unilever expand R.-T.-D. tea j.v.

by Keith Nunes
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PURCHASE, N.Y. — PepsiCo, Inc. and Unilever have expanded their international partnership for the marketing and distribution of ready-to-drink (R.-T.-D.) teas under the Lipton brand. The new agreement adds 11 countries to the joint venture, including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan. Each company will continue to own 50% of the joint venture, with PepsiCo paying Unilever an undisclosed sum for its share of the businesses in the new markets being transferred.

The new agreement will more than double the volume of the companies’ current joint venture, according to the companies. In 2006, the joint venture recorded sales of €300 million ($416 million).

"This is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen our position in one of the fastest-growing beverage categories," said Michael White, chief executive officer of PepsiCo International and vice-chairman of PepsiCo. "Lipton is one of the world’s great beverage brands, and will continue to be a key pillar of our strategy to offer international consumers a portfolio of convenient beverages to address a wide range of needs."

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