ECONOMY

CCHBC’s Swiss acquisition

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling (CCHBC) announced on Tuesday it had purchased the remaining 26.1 percent of its Swiss subsidiary Coca-Cola Beverages from Germany’s EWN Getraenke Holdings GmbH for 82 million Swiss francs. CCHBC, the world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola products by sales volume and one of the largest European bottlers of non-alcoholic beverages, had previously announced plans to fully acquire the company. «The timing of the transaction resulted in more beneficial terms for Coca-Cola HBC, as the minority shareholder will have no rights in the 2002 dividends of the Swiss business,» the company said in a statement. Earlier in December, CCHBC wound up the acquisition of leading Romanian mineral water company Dorna along with the Coca-Cola Company as it broadens its presence in emerging markets. It is also in the process of acquiring Swiss mineral water bottler Valser, again with Coca-Cola. CCHBC’s shares on the Athens bourse closed down 1.34 percent at 13.24 euros on Tuesday. Overall, it lost 18.27 percent last year. CCHBC shares have had several ups and downs since the company’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange on October 10. Better-than-expected third-quarter results, announced in mid-November, led to a rise in the stock of more than 9 percent. However, on December 3, it was announced in midsession that major shareholder Kar-Tess Holding had sold 3.9 million shares, or 1.6 percent of the bottler’s share capital, to domestic and foreign funds. The shares were placed at 13.50 euros, a discount of about 11.3 percent to the previous day’s close of 15.22 euros. As a result, CCHBC shares plunged 8.15 percent that day to close at 13.98 euros in active trade of more than 5 million shares. (Reuters)