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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Troubled Beverage Bottlers Hellenic, Coca-Cola Settle




LONDON -- The long-delayed buyout bid by Hellenic Bottling for Coca-Cola Beverages was finally detailed Wednesday in a statement by the two companies, both major bottlers of Coca-Cola Co. drinks.


In the wake of a turbulent summer for Coke in Europe, Hellenic offered to buy CCB in a stock swap valued at one new Hellenic share for every 9.5 shares of London-based CCB.


An optional cash offer was also made of 140 pence ($2.25) per CCB share, subject to certain limits to be determined by how many stockholders ultimately choose to accept the stock-swap offer.


Irish-born CCB chief executive Neville Isdell, 56, who will lead the combined business as chief executive, said the cash offer represented the sole change from terms mooted when Athens-based Hellenic first bid for CCB on June 16.


"These terms differ from the terms announced on 16 June, 1999, in that the partial cash alternative announced on that date of 150 pence per CCB share has been revised to 140 pence per CCB share to reflect recent trading conditions," the companies said.


Hit by economic crisis in Russia and war in the Balkans, as well as a product recall and regulatory troubles in parts of the European Union, Coca-Cola's vast European system is hurting.


Isdell said in a conference call that CCB and Hellenic have shared the pain.


"A great deal has happened in the last eight weeks in terms of current trading, both in terms of Hellenic's stock and our own performance as well, largely driven by the war in Kosovo and also the problems in Belgium and France that have rippled through all of Europe," Isdell said.


CCB and Hellenic are active in much of Central and Eastern Europe, where soft drink sales have been hurt by economic setbacks in Russia and military conflict.