Hansen Natural has secured a long-expected tie-up with The Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola Enterprises for its Monster Energy brand.

The California-based soft drinks firm said earlier today that Coca-Cola Co. and CCE will handle the distribution of Monster Energy in six Western European countries as well as in Canada and "selected territories" in the US. The agreement has been designed to complement Hansen's current distribution relationship with Anheuser-Busch in the US on-trade.

Late last month, executives at Hansen would not be drawn on speculation linking the company to talks with Coca-Cola Co.

Under the agreement, a "significant portion" of Monster Energy's current North American Direct Store Delivery volume will be serviced by Coca-Cola bottlers, primarily CCE. The agreements in North America include all Monster Energy trademark beverages including Monster Energy and Java Monster as well as the Lost Energy brand. In Western Europe, the agreement includes the distribution of Monster Energy in all CCE European countries - Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Monaco.

"We are pleased to be partnering with the world's leading beverage system to expand the retail presence and penetration of our Monster Energy drinks," said Rodney Sacks, Hansen's chairman and CEO. "We believe the relationship with The Coca-Cola Co. and Coca-Cola Enterprises will enable us to build on the success of our Monster Energy brand in North America and expand into fertile new international markets."

John Brock, chairman and CEO of CCE, added: "Monster Energy drinks are strong additions to our energy portfolio, reinforcing our strategic priority of being #1 or a strong #2 in every category in which we choose to compete. Monster Energy continues to outperform the energy category in the US, and we look forward to bringing another proven brand to our territories in Western Europe."

The agreement will take effect beginning in November in the US and parts of Western Europe, and in early 2009 in Canada.