Refresco Group B.V., one of the largest independent beverage contract manufacturers in the world, will be sold to KKR, a leading global investment firm. Both companies today announced that KKR has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Refresco, with Refresco’s existing investors, PAI Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI), maintaining a significant minority position. Terms of the transaction, which is subject to closing conditions, were not disclosed. However without citing sources, Bloomberg said that the deal values the bottler at about EUR 7 billion euros (USD 7.9 bn).
Founded in 1999, Refresco is a global independent beverage solutions provider for retailers and branded beverage companies with pan-regional coverage in Europe and North America through its network of bottling, warehousing, logistics and other operational assets. The Company’s production platform includes over 70 majority-owned manufacturing sites in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Mexico. The Refresco Group, based in Rotterdam, has since its beginnings 23 years ago rapidly expanded and acts as a consolidator of the industry. Last year it first acquired Hansa-Heeman, a major German mineral water and CSD company. (inside.beer, 8.7.2021) and one month later Southeast Bottling & Beverage (SEBB), a ready to drink manufacturer and according to its website “the leader in the beverage co-packing industry” based in Dade City, Florida. Also in August 2021, Refrecso entered into an agreement with The Coca-Cola Company to buy three production facilities in the United States. (inside.beer, 5.8.2021). Today, the company employs more than 10,000 employees.
According to a press statement today, KKR will support Refresco as it expands its global and strategically located footprint to better serve existing and new customers through a range of formats and channels.
“We are very pleased to welcome KKR, one of the world’s most prominent investment firms, as our new majority owner. We are proud that PAI and BCI will continue as shareholders, which is a testament to our successful value creation,” said Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco. “To support further growth, we have explored the various alternatives available to us and believe that the investment by KKR is an incredibly positive development for the Company. Like our existing shareholders, KKR is supportive of our strategy and will bring operational expertise, access to capital and a well-established network to support us in our growth, innovation and M&A strategy. Our focus of growing alongside our customers, combined with expanding into new categories and geographies, remains unchanged. I look forward to this new chapter, and for all our employees and customers to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us.”
“Refresco has established itself as an industry leader supporting the global beverage industry with a blue-chip global customer base, an experienced and highly regarded management team, and an impressive network of assets that provides compelling value to customers. The Company also has a strong commitment to sustainability, which is an important differentiator for its customers,” said James Cunningham, Partner at KKR. “We look forward to leveraging our operational expertise from across the KKR platform to support the company’s continued growth and further advance the sustainability of its value chain.”
“We are proud to have been instrumental in Refresco’s growth since we initiated our investment with BCI in 2018,” said Frédéric Stévenin, Managing Partner of PAI Partners. “We are even more excited about the prospect of continuing to stay a part of Refresco’s strong growth trajectory alongside KKR. We are convinced of Refresco’s unique value-add capabilities, its growth initiatives and a proven M&A track record, and we look forward to the next phase of this journey.”
“As an institutional investor with a long-term perspective, supporting strong management teams and market leading companies is core to our private equity program. We are in full agreement with Frédéric’s comments and are very happy to continue this partnership with management, PAI and KKR,” said Julian Remedios, Senior Managing Director, Private Equity, BCI.
KKR said in the statement that it is making this investment primarily through its Global Infrastructure strategy, which was established in 2008. Since that time, KKR has been one of the most active infrastructure investors around the world with a team of more than 70 dedicated investment professionals. The firm currently oversees approximately USD 40 billion in infrastructure assets and has made over 60 infrastructure investments across a range of sub-sectors and geographies.