The Coca-Cola Co strikes Aujan deal in Middle East

The Coca-Cola Co strikes Aujan deal in Middle East

The Coca-Cola Co has announced that it will buy 50% of the soft drinks business of Aujan Industries, as part of the US firm's long-term investment plan in the Middle East. 

Coca-Cola said today (14 December) that it will spend US$980m to acquire half of Aujan Industries' beverage business, as well as 49% of the Middle East-based conglomerate's bottling and distribution unit. The move marks one of the biggest single investments to date in the Middle East fast moving consumer goods sector.

"The Middle East is a high-growth region with some of the highest rates of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink per capita consumption," said Coca-Cola's president for Africa and Eurasia, Ahmet Bozer. "Today’s announcement is a demonstration of our commitment to consumers here that we are investing for the long-term," he said.

In October, Coca-Cola said that it would invest $5bn in the Middle East within ten years. Today's announcement may lead to stronger ties between Coca-Cola and Aujan in the future, according to Bozer. "This transaction creates a platform for further cooperation between The Coca-Cola Co, Aujan and existing bottling partners across the region," he said.

Aujan sells drinks brands Rani and Barbican and also holds the regional licence to UK-based Nichols' Vimto soft drink. "As one of the region’s leading beverage companies, this partnership will allow us to unlock new and substantial opportunities,” said Aujan Industries' chairman, Sheikh Adel Aujan. 

Both companies expect the deal to close in the first half of 2012. Aujan's Iranian operations are not included in the deal.