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Three coke bottlers to merge

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 -Three Coca-Cola bottling companies – Kisii Bottlers, Mount Kenya Bottlers and Rift Valley Bottlers – have expressed their interest to enter into a three-way reorganisation of ownership.

The newly formed company to be called Almasi Beverages Limited will have an estimated valuation worth Sh4.2 billion once the merger is complete in another four months.

The merger, which is the first of its kind in East Africa, will formally combine the shareholding and governance of all three companies that will add an extra value Sh1.5 billion for shareholders.

The Almasi Beverages Limited Board is expected to have nine directors.

Each of the bottlers seeks to develop a strong platform for growth in the non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (NARTD) beverages market in Kenya.

Currently, Kisii Bottlers has nine percent market share, while Mount Kenya Bottlers and Rift Valley Bottlers each have 10 percent market share, however combined the three will have 20 percent market share.

The proposal which is subject to shareholder and regulatory approval, will allow each of the three companies to capture greater production and distribution efficiencies.

The three bottlers have been in operation since the 1970s, under bottling agreements with The Coca-Cola Company during which period each has experienced significant growth.

Almasi Beverages Limited will position the companies to better serve the existing market and take advantage of the emerging opportunities in line with the rapidly-changing consumer trends.

Last month, Nairobi Bottlers Limited (NBL) commissioned a Sh1.3 billion PET or plastic bottles manufacturing line at its plant in Embakasi.

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NBL is gradually making a move to producing more plastic bottles, with 73 percent of its products packaged in glass bottles.

The new PET line is one of three in Kenya and produces 28,000 bottles per hour, more than doubling Nairobi Bottlers capacity to 12 million physical cases annually.

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