Coca-Cola bottler, Equatorial weigh merger in Nigeria, others

Equatorial Coca-Cola Bottling Company is considering merging with other independent Coca-Cola bottlers in African countries, according to people with knowledge of the matter. It would mark the latest consolidation of the companies that bottle the famed soda brand.

Equatorial Coca-Cola, which is owned by Spain’s Cobega Invest SL, will consider merging with bottlers in African countries where it doesn’t currently operate, to expand its footprint on the continent, said people who are privy to ongoing discussions.

Those countries may include Nigeria, where Coca-Cola HBC AG handles the bottling of Coca-Cola, or Egypt. Equatorial Coca-Cola may also consider merging with smaller bottlers in countries where it already has a presence, including Morocco and Algeria, the people said.

Cobega Invest SL is owned by the Daurella family, one of the richest in the Northern Spanish region of Catalonia. Cobega is also the controlling shareholder of Coca-Cola Iberian Partners S.A, which on August 6th agreed to merge with Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetranke AG and Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc to create the largest independent bottler of the famed soda brand in Europe, with presence in 13 countries and 2015 revenue of about $12.6 billion.

Africa has experienced a series of consolidation between Coca-Cola bottlers. Last year, SABMiller Plc and Coca-Cola Company agreed to combine bottling operations for non-alcoholic beverages in Southern Africa, creating the continent’s largest Coca-Cola bottler with annual revenue of almost $3 billion.

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