Canadian soft drinks giant the Cott Corporation has announced that it will invest US$29.5m in cash, to form a new business venture with Polar Corp, an independent beverage supplier from Worcester, Massachusetts, in the US.

It is hoped that the new soft drinks venture, called Northeast Retailer
Brands LLC, will add US$55m to Cott's annual sales and will also add to its earnings per share growth in the first full year, said Cott's president, Frank E. Weisse.

Polar has been bottling drinks for more than 120 years, supplying many major retailers in New England and surrounding states.

"Adding Cott's marketing and merchandising skills to Polar's operations and logistical skills will bolster our efforts to help retailers win consumer preference," said Ralph D. Crowley Jr, Polar president and chief executive officer.

"I am convinced that all our customers will benefit by also being able to work with Cott's research and innovation teams in formulating new products for our region."