March 16, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
O4 recession-busting strategy: A rocket pack for field rep productivity.
The Coca-Cola Co. is facing a pivotal week in its bid to buy China's largest juice firm, Huiyuan, for $2.4bn. Both companies have set a deadline of a week today (23 March) to attain regulatory approval, and reports out of China indicate that the country's Ministry of Commerce is to make some form of announcement at the end of this week.
At stake for Coca-Cola is a 40% share of China's growing juice market, a market which, Coca-Cola expects, could be its largest by 2018.
Two weeks ago, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent visited Shanghai to open a state-of-the-art R&D centre and announce that the firm intends to invest $2bn in China over the next three years, on top of its Huiyuan bid. Many, including us, have viewed the timing of this announcement as a shrewd public relations move as crunch time for the Huiyuan deal approaches.
Reverberations from the Ministry of Commerce's decision will be felt far beyond the walls of Coca-Cola's Atlanta headquarters, however. This is a veritable test of China's new Anti-Monopoly Law, and the ruling will be taken as a measure of how far the country is prepared to open up to foreign ownership. If approved, the Huiyuan deal may come to mark a step-change in China's policy on foreign takeovers. If it isn't approved, could this signal the restriction – or even closing - of an avenue for growth for some of the multinational drinks companies?
Elsewhere on just-drinks last week, we reported on possible divestments by United Spirits and Innocent Drinks, the reduced likelihood of divestments by Anheuser-Busch Inbev, while SABMiller bucked the trend with an actual acquisition, believe it or not, in China.
We also chose last week to make our own splash, this time in the cyber-world. Just-drinks is now available on Twitter, so any of you who are using the service to keep up to speed while out and about, flap on over to our Twitter feed, and sign up for the latest news, as it happens.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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In today’s world of globalised and increasingly competitive markets, Europe’s food and drink industries need enlightened regulation if they are to meet accepted international standards for safety, additives, labelling and environmental responsibility. This month's briefing looks at the latest legislation concerning additives and labelling and looks at novel foods and drinks law implications.
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