Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) has reached an agreement to acquire, jointly with The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), a leading Russian fruit juice producer for an undisclosed sum.

Multon has production facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg and produces and distributes juice products under the brands Rich, Nico and Dobry. The acquisition, which is consistent with CCHBC's strategy of expanding in the non- carbonated segment, is expected to yield significant cost and revenue synergies for its Russian operations, CCHBC said today (31 March).

Multon is expected to generate between 65m and 70m unit cases in the remaining part of 2005. The acquisition is expected to benefit CCHBC's EPS by approximately 6 Euro cents this year.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be finalised next month.

In a statement, Doros Constantinou, managing director of CCHBC, said: "This is a significant acquisition for CCHBC, diversifying our product offering in the fast growing Russian market. We have enjoyed a great deal of success in Russia since we acquired TCCC's entire territory in 2001, and we continue to be very optimistic for our prospects there.

"We are confident that our infrastructure, scale and local expertise position us uniquely to deliver optimal results from a wider Russian brand portfolio. Bringing non-carbonated high growth local brands such as market leader Dobry into our portfolio represents the extension of CCHBC's successful strategy into our largest emerging market, underscoring our confidence in Russia and our commitment to provide consumers across all of our 26 countries with an increasing range of beverage choices."

Alexander Kritsky, general manager of Multon, said: "The purchase of Multon by the world leader in the beverage industry provides assurance that Multon's business will have strong investment and future growth, to the benefit of our employees, customers and consumers."

Last year, Multon had revenue of US$336m and juice volume of approximately 500m litres representing approximately a 25% market share.