The world's largest supplier of own-label soft drinks Cott Corporation said yesterday that its subsidiary Cott Beverages Inc is acquiring assets of The Cardinal Companies of Elizabethtown, including a bottling facility located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The move has been made in order to meet increasing demand.

Cardinal has had a long-standing relationship with Cott as a co-packer of soft drinks in the US. The acquisition is expected to add approximately US$12m a year to Cott's sales. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"As we work with our retail partners to grow their business, we are seeking opportunities to add production capacity where needed," said John K. Sheppard, Cott's president and chief operating officer. "This acquisition will strengthen our capabilities in the mid-western U.S. and will also allow us to offer Cott's expertise in retailer brands to new customers not currently served by us."

This acquisition increases the number of company-owned bottling plants to nine in the US and 19 worldwide.

Sheppard said: "We're looking forward to welcoming Cardinal's employees to the Cott family. Under Larry Schmidt's leadership, Cardinal has built a solid business. They now have an important contribution to make to the success of Cott."

"Our association with Cott Beverages goes back many years," said Larry Schmidt, president of Cardinal Companies. "We are very pleased about our Elizabethtown plant becoming a part of the Cott manufacturing system".

Headquartered in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, Cardinal supplies retailers in the Mid-West region.