Aboitiz group, partner get PCC nod for $1.8-B Coca-Cola PHL acquisition

THE ABOITIZ group and its partner Coca-Cola Europacific Partners plc (CCEP) have received approval from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to jointly acquire soft drinks giant Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc. for $1.8 billion, the group’s holding company Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc. (AEV) said on Wednesday.

The PCC approved the transaction on Jan. 25, the listed holding company said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures will have a 40% beneficial ownership in Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, while CCEP will hold a 60% stake, the company also said.

Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines serves as the exclusive bottler and distributor of the products of US-based multinational corporation The Coca-Cola Co.

CCEP Aboitiz Beverages Philippines, Inc., incorporated in December, will acquire 100% of the share capital of Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, according to the Aboitiz company.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures said that the Coca-Cola company in the Philippines “benefits from attractive profitability and growth prospects.”

The transaction, the Aboitiz company said, aligns with its portfolio diversification strategy to enter the branded consumer goods spaces.

“The parties expect to close the transaction towards the end of February 2024 after receipt of the PCC approval and upon completion of the remaining conditions,” it added.

The transaction was “based on an enterprise value of $1.8 billion on a cash-free, debt-free basis which was arrived on a willing buyer, willing seller basis,” the company also said.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures and CCEP, which is engaged in consumer goods manufacturing, selling, and distributing an extensive range of primarily non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages, will acquire, through the holding com-pany, 2,447,956,683 shares of class A common stock with a par value of P2 and 1,000 shares of class B common stock with a par value of P1.

In the first nine months of 2023, AEV reported a 16% drop in its net income dropped 16% to P18 billion from P21.4 billion in 2022.

Shares of AEV rose by 55 centavos or 1.15% to P48.50 apiece on Wednesday. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave