Coca-Cola to increase Innocent stake to more than 90%

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Coca-Cola is set to increase its share in Innocent Drinks to more than 90%, as the smoothie maker’s founders step away from the day-to-day running of the business.

Joint CEO Richard Reed told The Grocer that he and fellow founders Adam Balon and Jon Wright would remain on the executive committee and the Innocent board, but that they would be handing over the reins to the existing management team, although full details are yet to be announced.

Coca-Cola currently has a 58% stake in the business but will take the extra share from May, said Reed.

“It will still totally be the same company with the same people, same products. It will all be run by Innocent,” he said. “It’s exactly what Coca-Cola wants and what’s right for the business.”

Reed said the time was right for this move and claimed that the relationship with Coca-Cola had proved to be a huge success.

“This is the third deal we’ve done with Coke. If you look at what’s happened, from £105m sales in 2008 before the deal, we’ve doubled the size of the business to £209m - during a recession – and returned the business to a profit for the first time since 2007,” explained Reed.

“As a result, we’ve been able to invest loads more in social projects with WWF, smallholder projects in Africa, and given a material amount to charity.  We have flourished under Coca-Cola. “

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