Gerber Emig and Refresco have agreed to merge to create a soft drinks giant with a combined turnover of €2.3bn.
Under the terms of the deal, UK-based Gerber will own 30% of the merged company – to be called Refresco Gerber – and Netherlands-based Refresco 70%.
With a business spanning juice, carbonates and water, Refresco is the larger of the two companies. It has a turnover of €1.5bn, while Gerber, whose business is more focused on juice, has sales of €801m.
Upon completion of the deal – which is subject to regulatory approval – Refresco CEO Hans Roelofs will become CEO and Gerber CEO Andrew Biles will join the senior management team of the group, which will be headquartered in Rotterdam.
“No company shrinks to greatness – by pooling our assets and expertise we will develop ourselves as a liquid packaging expert and grow the business”
“This is a very significant and positive move with real industrial logic. No company shrinks to greatness – by pooling our assets and expertise we will develop ourselves as a liquid packaging expert and grow the business,” said Biles.
The two companies had been considering a deal for eight or nine years but only recently decided to go ahead with a merger.
“There is no better time than when both parties want to do it. With the economic crisis, it is difficult to buy other companies and when you can participate in consolidation without having to find cash financing that is a great advantage,” said Biles.
Refresco CEO Hans Roelofs said the merger would give customers more choice, greater proximity and increased market access. “As one company, Refresco and Gerber will be in a better position to follow its customers’ international growth and to address industry opportunities and challenges,” he said.
In the UK, Gerber has one plant in Bridgwater – focused mainly on fresh juice – and Refresco has one in Durham producing mainly ambient juices.
Outside the UK, Gerber has one plant in France, one in Poland and two in Germany. Refresco has a total of 25 sites.
Gerber was advised by N M Rothschild and Refresco by ABN Amro.