Equator Bottlers, based in Kisumu, serves the Western region market.

Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) has acquired Kisumu-based Equator Bottlers, in one of the biggest buyouts in corporate Kenya in recent history. CCBA, Africa’s largest Coca-Cola bottler, announced this week it had bought the entire 100 percent in Equator Bottlers, a franchise bottler of the Coca Cola Company.

Equator Bottlers  CEO Enrique Huguet said in an internal announcement that CCBA had reached a deal for a share purchase of the franchise, though the transnational is still undergoing regulatory approval. Financial details of the deal are still under wraps.

Purchase agreement

“CCBA through its subsidiary has entered into a share purchase agreement with the company’s shareholders for the purchase of all shares in the company,” said Mr Huguetto in a staff memo. “The proposed transaction will not be completed until various conditions in the agreement are satisfied, including approvals from the regulators.”

Equator Bottlers, established in 1966 as a franchise of Coca-Cola, bottles and distributes Coca-Cola’s range of soft drinks in seven counties in western Kenya including Kakamega, Busia, Siaya, Vihiga, Bomet, Kericho and Kisumu, where it serves more than 6.5 million consumers through nearly 20,000 outlets.

It produces the returnable glass bottles of sizes 200ml, 300ml, 500ml and one litre and distributes other outsourced alternative beverages in cans 330ml and non-returnable PET Dasani, Minute Maid and other carbonated Soft Drinks.

The buyout has set the ground for a restructuring at the lake-side plant, which could see some staff being laid off under the new management.

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Coca Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) was formed less than two years ago through the combination of African non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling interests of SABMiller plc, The Coca-Cola Company, and Gutsche Family Investments. CCBA currently produces and distributes about 40% of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in Africa and is the 10th largest Coca-Cola bottler worldwide.

In Kenya, Coca-Cola in 2014 acquired Keringet water, a product of Crown Beverages, a subsidiary of South African beer maker SABMiller for Sh23.4 billion. The deal involved Coca-Cola acquiring rights to SABMillers 19 non-alcoholic brands in Africa including the brewer’s flagship Appletiser brand. SABMIller had acquired Crown Beverages in 2011.

In 2013 Equator Bottlers Limited was awarded by The Coca-Cola Central, East and West Africa as the fastest growing Bottling Partner. Its Sh130 million pet (plastic) line was commissioned in November 2014 and has a capacity of 30,000 bottling per hour. The first expansion was carried out in early 2011 which involved relocating from the plant’s site at Kisumu’s Central Business District to a new state-of–the art production plant on Nkrumah Road, located near the airport.

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