Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) has agreed to acquire, jointly with The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC), the Italian mineral water company Traficante Group for EUR35m (US$41.6m).

The acquisition for 100% of the Traficante Group, which has "significant water reserves", includes two production facilities in the south, as well as the national mineral water brand "Lilia" and "Lilia Kiss" (still and sparkling).

The total net consideration for the transaction includes debt but excludes acquisition costs, a statement said. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of 2006. 

Doros Constantinou, managing director of CCHBC, said: "Through today's acquisition of Traficante, we have gained a very important foothold in Europe's largest packaged water market. Given the significant expansion in cold drink availability and sales force that has been built in Italy over the past years and the recent success of our route to market initiatives, we are well positioned to commercially develop the strong assets and excellent quality mineral water of Traficante. Furthermore, this transaction is consistent with our strategy to expand our non-CSD offering."

Aurelia Traficante, managing director of the Traficante Group, said: "I am extremely satisfied that my company, whose foundation, strength, and growth have been built through the hard work of five generations of my family, now becomes part of a large international group such as Coca-Cola HBC and The Coca-Cola Company. This is a guarantee that our water brands will continue to grow and develop all over the country."