The runners and riders are lining up to buy Cadbury Schweppes' Australian soft drinks unit, should it be put up for sale.

With Cadbury Schweppes confirming last week that it is reviewing its soft drinks operations in Australia, local reports this week have claimed that Kirin Holdings is lining up a bid. The Independent Financial Review said today (7 August) that Kirin is readying an A$800m-plus offer for the unit. At the same time, Coca-Cola Amatil is also thought to be keen on the operations, although competition regulators may take issue with CCA, the news service noted.

Among the other companies thought to be interested are P&N Beverages, Foster's Group and the private equity owners of Independent Liquor, Pacific Equity Partners and CCMP Asia Pacific, the IFR said.

When contacted by just-drinks this week, Kirin declined to give its stance on Cadbury Schweppes Australia.

A sale is widely-expected, as the move would to be a "cleaning up exercise" following the sale of Cadbury's US soft drinks division in May, one analyst told just-drinks.

The unit had annual sales of about A$632m last year, and a market share of about 25%.