Cott Corporation (NASDAQ:COTT; TSE:BCB.) today announced it has acquired, effective immediately, the Honickman Group's Concord Beverage bottling operation.

Concord Beverage is the largest independent, stand-alone, retailer brand bottling operation in the United States. Cott also announced a strong third quarter 2000 financial performance, its seventh straight profitable quarter.

"This is a double victory of significance to our company," said Frank E. Weise, president and chief executive officer. "The acquisition of the assets of Concord Beverage provides us with a solid base of new customers in the Northeast U.S. market, increased market share and the highly-regarded 'Vintage' brand of seltzer water. We expect the acquisition to be accretive to earnings in the first full year."

"Our third quarter financial performance was in line with expectations, and demonstrates that our strategy is on target. We are continuing to increase our productivity and take costs out of the business, significantly improving margins. We are also growing overall net sales again after the strategic customer and product rationalization undertaken over the past 12 months. I am particularly pleased that sales to our core 15 customers this quarter representing approximately 75% of our business, grew 9% over last year and continue to signficantly outpace category growth."

Cott has acquired the retailer brand business of Concord Beverage, including its Concordville, Pa. bottling plant, and the "Vintage" brand of seltzer products.

The acquisition is expected to add 40 million equivalent cases or $80 million annually to Cott's sales in the United States and will include important new supermarket customers not now served by Cott. It will also add approximately 10% to Cott's bottling capacity in the United States. The acquisition price is $72 million, of which approximately half has been paid from cash on-hand and the balance has been financed.

Harold A. Honickman, Honickman Group's Chairman, amplified Weise's remarks, "Combining with a world-class partner provides a bright future for the customers. I look forward to working with Frank Weise and the Cott leadership to effect a smooth transition."

At the same time, Cott reported its seventh consecutive profitable quarter for the third quarter ended September 30, 2000. Net income per diluted share tripled to $0.12, compared with $0.04 last year, excluding a one-time gain of $0.09 per diluted share last year from the sale of an investment. Net income for the quarter was $7.9 million, compared with $2.8 million after excluding a one-time gain of $5.9 million.

Overall net sales of $262.1 million were up slightly versus last year. Sales in the U.S. increased 9% with sales volume to Cott's top five customers growing 17%. Sales in Canada were adversely affected by unseasonably cool weather but the decline versus last year of 6% was also attributable to the rationalization of the low margin water and export businesses. Sales in the UK declined 22% versus last year due to downward pressure on prices, customer rationalization and the weakness of the pound sterling.

Gross margin for the quarter was 16.1% compared to 15.1% last year. Emphasis on reducing costs and improving efficiencies led all three segments to improve their margins and prepare for the business challenges they faced.

For the nine months of 2000, net income grew by 72% to $18.8 million ($0.28 per share diluted) from $10.9 million ($0.16 per share diluted) for the prior year, excluding the one-time gain and the effect of the accounting change. Net sales were $763.5 million versus $781.5 million a year ago, or $763.4 million excluding the impact of divested businesses.

Cash flow continued to be strong. Nine months operating cash flow after capital expenditures was $54.3 million, almost double the amount generated last year. Net debt of $254 million as of the third quarter was down from $323 million at the beginning of the year.

Weise added, "we were particularly gratified to be honored by Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, which named Cott Beverages USA a 'Supplier of the 2nd Quarter 2000' for sales increases, product excellence and value, customer service, on-time delivery, and innovation. As the leader in producing retailer branded beverages, customer satisfaction is at the heart of our business."

"We were also pleased recently to add two of the United Kingdom's most important retailers to our group of preferred customers: Tesco, with a range of organic drinks, and Marks & Spencer."

"Looking ahead," Weise added, "we are confident that we will meet our financial targets for 2000. We are focused on building volume with key customers, improving margins, and continuing to drive innovation in our category. Cott people continue to perform quarter after quarter giving us great confidence in our long-term growth strategy."

Cott is the world's largest retailer brand beverage supplier, with major manufacturing facilities in its three core markets of Canada, the U.K. and the U.S.

COTT CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(in millions of US dollars except per share amounts, US GAAP)
Unaudited

For the three For the nine
months ended months ended
------------------ -------------------
September October September October
30, 2000 2, 1999 30, 2000 2, 1999
--------- -------- --------- ---------

Sales $ 262.1 $ 261.0 $ 763.5 $ 781.5
Cost of sales 220.0 221.7 639.6 668.0
--------- -------- --------- ---------

Gross profit 42.1 39.3 123.9 113.5

Selling, general and
administrative expenses 21.8 26.9 69.4 73.1
--------- -------- --------- ---------

Operating income 20.3 12.4 54.5 40.4

Other expenses (income), net (0.7) (5.7) (0.7) (5.5)
Interest expense, net 7.2 8.9 23.0 27.0
--------- -------- --------- ---------

Income before income taxes and
equity income 13.8 9.2 32.2 18.9

Income taxes (5.9) (0.9) (13.4) (3.0)
Equity income - 0.4 - 0.9
--------- -------- --------- ---------

Income from continuing operations 7.9 8.7 18.8 16.8

Cumulative effect of change in
accounting principle, net of tax - - - (2.1)
--------- -------- --------- ---------

Net income $ 7.9 $ 8.7 $ 18.8 $ 14.7
--------- -------- --------- ---------
--------- -------- --------- ---------


Volume - 8 oz equivalent cases 150.9 151.5 436.5 451.3


Income per common share - basic:
Income from continuing
operations $ 0.13 $ 0.15 $ 0.31 $ 0.28
Cumulative effect of change
in accounting principle $ - $ - $ - $ (0.03)
Net income $ 0.13 $ 0.15 $ 0.31 $ 0.25

Income per common share - diluted:
Income from continuing
operations $ 0.12 $ 0.13 $ 0.28 $ 0.26
Cumulative effect of change
in accounting principle $ - $ - $ - $ (0.03)
Net income $ 0.12 $ 0.13 $ 0.28 $ 0.23



COTT CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(in millions of US dollars, US GAAP)
Unaudited

For the nine months ended
-------------------------
September October
30, 2000 2, 1999
----------- ---------
Operating Activities
Income from continuing operations $ 18.8 $ 16.8
Depreciation and amortization 29.1 29.9
Deferred income taxes 12.9 -
Equity income - (0.9)
Gain on disposal of equity
investment - (5.9)
Gain on sale of property, plant
and equipment - 0.1
Other non-cash items 1.0 0.3
Net change in non-cash working
capital from continuing operations 9.9 3.2
----------- ---------
Cash provided by operating
activities 71.7 43.5
----------- ---------

Investing Activities
Additions to property, plant and
equipment (17.4) (14.9)
Proceeds from disposal of businesses 15.9 38.0
Proceeds from disposal of property,
plant and equipment 0.8 1.1
Other (3.0) (2.9)
----------- ---------
Cash provided by (used in) investing
activities (3.7) 21.3
----------- ---------

Financing Activities
Payments of long-term debt (5.6) (33.2)
Short-term borrowings (0.3) (21.4)
Other (2.0) -
----------- ---------
Cash used in financing activities (7.9) (54.6)
----------- ---------

Net cash used in discontinued
operations (0.2) (0.5)

Effect of exchange rate changes on
cash and cash equivalents (0.8) 0.6
----------- ---------

Net increase in cash and cash
equivalents 59.1 10.3

Cash and cash equivalents,
beginning of period 2.6 28.1
----------- ---------

Cash and cash equivalents,
end of period $ 61.7 $ 38.4
----------- ---------
----------- ---------



COTT CORPORATION
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in millions of US dollars, US GAAP)

Unaudited Audited
September 30, January 1,
2000 2000
------------- -------------
ASSETS
Current assets
Cash and cash equivalents $ 61.7 $ 2.6
Accounts receivable 105.3 97.6
Inventories 64.4 67.3
Prepaid expenses 2.0 4.4
------------- -------------

233.4 171.9
Property, plant and equipment 238.6 266.4
Goodwill 100.1 108.1
Investment and other assets 36.8 43.2
------------- -------------

$ 608.9 $ 589.6
------------- -------------
------------- -------------



LIABILITIES AND SHAREOWNERS' EQUITY

Current liabilities
Short-term borrowings $ 0.9 $ 1.8
Current maturities of long-term debt 9.7 1.6
Accounts payable and accrued
liabilities 119.3 104.8
Discontinued operations 0.7 1.0
------------- -------------

130.6 109.2
Long-term debt 305.1 322.0
Other liabilities 23.2 16.1

Shareowners' equity
Capital stock 229.1 229.0
Deficit (44.5) (63.3)
Accumulated other comprehensive income (34.6) (23.4)
------------- -------------
150.0 142.3
------------- -------------

$ 608.9 589.6
------------- -------------
------------- -------------


COTT CORPORATION
SEGMENT INFORMATION
(in millions of US dollars, US GAAP)
Unaudited


For the three months ended For the nine months ended
-------------------------- -------------------------
September 30, October 2, September 30, October 2,
2000 1999 2000 1999
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------
Sales
Canada $ 43.2 $ 46.1 $ 128.3 $ 131.8
UK 37.0 47.6 108.7 142.4
USA 176.2 161.0 510.5 474.4
Other 5.7 6.3 16.0 32.9
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------

$ 262.1 $ 261.0 $ 763.5 $ 781.5
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------


Operating income (loss)
Canada $ 4.6 $ 3.9 $ 12.3 $ 10.6
UK 1.2 (0.3) 2.5 1.9
USA 16.8 11.1 46.9 32.1
Corporate and
other (2.3) (2.3) (7.2) (4.2)
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------

$ 20.3 $ 12.4 $ 54.5 $ 40.4
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------
------------ ----------- ---------- ------------