GREECE/UK: Coca-Cola Hellenic targets equity with listing switch
Coca-Cola Hellenic is hoping to start its primary listing in London in March
Coca-Cola Hellenic is looking to move its primary listing from the stock exchange in its native Athens to London.
The Greece-based company, which is Coca-Cola Co's second largest bottler, announced earlier today (11 October) it has set up Coca-Cola HBC AG, a Swiss holding company, to undertake a voluntary share exchange offer. Subsequently, Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCH) hopes to take a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange, while maintaining a presence on the Athens and New York stock exchanges.
The move, which has been recommended by the board, will “better reflect the international nature” of CCH's business, and will improve its access to the international equity and debt capital markets. This would “increase its flexibility in raising new funds to support … future growth”.
The firm was keen to highlight, however, that it “will maintain production and distribution of its products in Greece and will continue … to operate its Group Corporate Service Center in Athens”. A source close to the situation told just-drinks that many of CCH's shareholders have been pushing for a move away from the Athens Stock Exchange because it is "not that liquid at the moment".
The company's two major shareholders are Kar-Tess Holding and Coca-Cola Co, which each hold 23%.
“We have 61% of our shareholders that support this transaction,” said CCH's CEO, Dimitris Lois. “The LSE is a more appropriate trading platform, in light of CCH's geographic footprint in 28 countries across three continents and the international profile of CCH's shareholder structure.”
CCH expects that, with a market capitalisation of around EUR5bn (US$6.47bn), it will qualify for inclusion in the FTSE 100 in London, and is aiming to start its listing in the city from March next year.
The company is set to release its Q3 results next month, with the exact date set to be confirmed in the coming days.
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