JPMorgan ups potential of Coca-Cola HBC making a bid for newly formed African bottling group

Coca-Cola HBC has the potential to make a major acquisition, according to JPMorgan broker, Casenove. In a note examining the recent re-alignment in Coca-Cola bottling operations worldwide, Casenove noted the strategic value of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA), which is widely speculated to be a possible takeover target of Coca-Cola HBC.

Casenove said that with a strong and predictable free cash flow generation, CCHBC will be in an enviable position within a year to “take on additional bottling assets in key growth territories.”

The broker added that the Coca-Cola Company has a “change-of-ownership” clause to sell SABMiller’s stake in the newly formed Coca-Cola Beverages Africa to a new owner when the AB InBev acquisition of SABMiller is finalized.

JPMorgan put a value of $6bn and $10bn on newly formed African bottling group, which is higher than Coca-Cola HBC current market value of $7.5bn. However, the broker also estimated that two two-thirds of CCBA’s volume business comes from South Africa, which is twice the volume in Coca-Cola HBC’s Nigerian operations and brings in revenue per case 40% higher than the emerging-markets average.

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