CCHBC bids for Cypriot counterpart

NICOSIA (Reuters) – Greek Coca-Cola bottler CCHBC submitted a bid to financial authorities in Cyprus yesterday for the acquisition of up to 100 percent of Lanitis Bros, a Coke bottler in Cyprus. «The bid came in today, and it will be examined in due course,» Nondas Metaxas, general manager of the Cyprus Stock Exchange, told Reuters. CCBHC, the world’s second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola, previously said it planned to bid for up to 100 percent of the Cypriot concern in a deal valued at around $90 million (76.2 million euros). Publicizing its intention to bid for Lanitis in December, CCHBC said it would offer 0.172 Cyprus pounds in cash for each Lanitis share. The present number of shares in Lanitis is 250 million, putting the value of the offer at 43 million Cyprus pounds. Under local legislation, CCHBC is not permitted to alter its already publicized bid, Metaxas said. The bid must be approved by Cyprus Stock Exchange authorities and vetted by the Securities Commission, which received a copy of the proposal yesterday. «Once the exchange has viewed the proposal, it may go back to the bidder with questions. And after that process is concluded, the company is then permitted to make the bid on the market,» a securities commission official told Reuters. Lanitis, controlled by the Lanitis family, has the Coca-Cola bottling franchise in Cyprus and produces a range of fruit juices and dairy products. After CCHBC made public its interest in Lanitis last month, a small Cypriot food manufacturer, Frou Frou, said it might also contemplate a bid. It had said it would review its position after viewing the CCHBC offer. CCHBC has operations in 26 countries. It recently made a series of acquisitions in the non-carbonated soft drink market in Eastern Europe.

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