Greek Coke bottler to set up coffee joint venture

Greek Coke bottler Coca-Cola HBC (CCHBC) said yesterday it will form a joint venture to sell ready-to-drink coffee products, strengthening its presence in that market. CCHBC, the world’s second-largest bottler of Coke products, said it had signed a letter of intent with the Coca-Cola Co and Italian roaster Illycafe to set up a three-way joint venture which will manufacture and sell coffee in 28 countries. «Ready-to-drink coffee is a small but high-growth high-value category in most of our markets,» said CCHBC managing director Doros Constantinou in a statement. «This joint venture will further strengthen our premium product offering and will allow us to maximize its potential.» The Coca-Cola Co and Illycaffe agreed to form a global joint venture last month. Negotiations on the joint-venture business model are expected to conclude early next year and are subject to regulatory approval, CCHBC said. CCHBC is already offering ready-to-drink coffee under the Nescafe brand but it might look to discontinue the business after Nestle and the Coca-Cola Co agreed to stop making coffee earlier in the year. (Reuters)