Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. is acquiring a 50-percent equity stake in Saudi Arabian beverage company Aujan Industries Co.
Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola’s Istanbul-based Eurasia & Africa Group and a graduate of Robinson College at Georgia State University, said the $980 million stock deal shows the company’s commitment to expansion in the Middle East.
“We are investing in Aujan because it is a well-run, successful business,” Mr. Bozer said in a news release. “This transaction creates a platform for further cooperation between the Coca-Cola Co., Aujan and existing bottling partners across the region.”
He added that the Middle East has one of the highest rates of non-alcoholic beverage consumption per capita in the world.
Based in the Saudi Arabian city of Dammam, Aujan Industries made about $850 million in sales last year, focused on the Middle East and nearby markets
The company has regional offices in Egypt, India, Iran, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. However its distribution network reaches as far as the Czech Republic, Malaysia and South Africa.
The Coca-Cola deal includes a 49 percent stake in Aujan’s bottling subsidiary. Aujan’s brands include Barbican, a flavored malt beverage, and Rani, a line of fruit juices.
Coca-Cola will not be involved in Aujan’s Iranian operations or in production of its Vimto product, a fruit drink popular as an energy booster for Muslims fasting during Ramadan.
Closure of the deal is subject to unspecified conditions.
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