On November 19th, COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages Limited (“CBL”), a subsidiary of COFCO Corporation, together with the other two main Coca-Cola bottlers in China and the Coca-Cola Company, reached a definitive agreement to refranchise all existing Coca-Cola bottling operations in China. Upon the completion of the agreement, COFCO and Swire will carve up Coca-Cola’s bottling operations in China, among which, the number of bottling plants run by COFCO will increase from 12 to 18.
Zhao Shuanglian, Chairman of COFCO Corporation, Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola Company and John Slosar, Chairman of Swire Pacific Limited attended the signing ceremony.
Zhao Shuanglian said, Coca-Cola’s strategic decisions of refranchising, refocusing on brands and markets coincided with COFCO’s long-term vision of improving quality and efficiency, and building a market-oriented, specialized modern enterprise. And the scale effect, regional synergy and cost optimization that the new initiative brings will certainly boost Coca-Cola and its partners to achieve a new leap forward in China.
Muhtar Kent appreciated COFCO’s continuous trust and support to Coca-Cola. He said, cooperation with COFCO on bottling operation contributes significantly on driving Coca-Cola’s performance both in China and on a global scale. This transaction marked a new page in the company’s business transforming process. Coca-Cola would refocus on core advantages of building brands and leading strong global franchise system.
Cooperation between COFCO and Coca-Cola dates back to 1979, when COFCO facilitated Coca-Cola’s returning to Chinese market in the very beginning of China’s reforming and opening up. CBL was established as a joint venture as mutual cooperation kept deepening. Ever since its foundation, CBL has remained NO. 1 in annual sales volume growth in Coca-Cola China Region, and has been among top 10 global Coca-Cola bottling groups since 2010.
Susan Gambardella, Vice President of Coca-Cola Company, John Murphy, President of Coca-Cola Asia Pacific, Curt Ferguson, President of Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea, Patrick Healy, Managing Director of Swire Beverages，Adrian Harley, Director & Chief Representative of John Swire & Sons (China), Martin Cubbon, Corporate Development & Finance Director of Swire Pacific, Ma Jianping, Vice President of COFCO, Qing Lijun, Director of Strategy and Investment Department of COFCO, Luan Xiuju, Chief Executive Officer of CBL, attended the ceremony.