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Britvic buys C&C's soft drinks and distribution businesses

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 14-May-2007

Britvic is set to acquire CCSD, the soft drinks and distribution businesses of Magners cider maker C&C Group, for €249.5m (£169.5m) in cash.

The deal, predicted last week on, will boost C&C's coffers as it seeks to return cash to investors via a series of share buyback transactions.

CCSD owns a number of brands in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland including Ballygowan water, Britvic and Energise Sport, as well as rights to Pepsi and 7Up.

C&C says it intends to use €150m (£102m) of the proceeds to buy back shares, with the balance being used for "general corporate purposes".

Maurice Pratt, chief executive of C&C, said the price for the business "recognises the value of its iconic brands and strong position in the Irish beverage market.

"Following this disposal, C&C has a sharper business focus and will continue to capitalise on the exciting growth potential presented by our Cider and Spirits & Liqueurs brand portfolio."

Operating profits in the distribution arm fell 86 per cent to £700,000 in the year to February 28 2007 on sales down 15 per cent, while its soft drinks business saw volumes in Ireland fall 2.7 per cent.

Britvic chief executive Paul Moody said the acquisition was important for his company "as we seek to grow the business both within the UK and by selective international expansion.

"We believe we have many opportunities to further develop both CCSD's own brands and the Pepsi and 7Up in these markets."

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