The Coca-Cola Co. and Illycaffè have signed a global joint venture focusing on the RTD coffee category.

The companies said today (15 October), that they hope to take advantage of Coca-Cola's distribution network and Illy's brand reputation in an effort to reach the US$10bn international RTD coffee segment as partners.

TCCC president and CEO Muhtar Kent said: "We will be able to bring our brand building and distribution expertise together with Illy's premium brand reputation. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to meeting evolving consumer demands while creating additional value for our system, our customers and our shareowners."

Illycaffè chairman Andrea Illy added: "Our R&D and product know-how will join The Coca-Cola Co.'s industrial and distribution infrastructure to develop a high quality RTD coffee."

The companies added that the specifics on brands and distribution have not yet been finalised, but the final joint venture agreements should be signed by the end of the year.

Earlier this summer, Coca-Cola confirmed that it was pulling its Coke and coffee drink, Coca-Cola Blak, from the US market. The coffee blend, which was introduced 19 months ago after a two-year development period, was seen as the soft drinks giant's efforts at piggybacking the lucrative coffee and premium beverage category.