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Hellenic Coke bottler Coca-Cola HBC has acquired the Finlandia vodka brand from a subsidiary of Brown-Forman, the US owner of Jack Daniel’s, for $220m.

Established in 1970, Finlandia is a leading vodka brand in Central and Eastern Europe. Coca-Cola HBC said more than 60% of the brand’s annual volumes of nine-litre cases sold globally (amounted to 2.7 million) were generated within the group’s geographic footprint.

Finlandia is bottled by Anora Group in Finland based on a long-term production services agreement and is available in pure and also several flavored versions.

Coca-Cola HBC added that the deal represented “a unique opportunity” that enhanced it becoming “a leading 24/7 beverage partner”.

The group has already been distributing Finlandia and other premium spirits brands for more than 17 years.

Coca-Cola HBC CEO Zoran Bogdanovic said: “Having been associated with the distribution of Finlandia for 17 years in several markets, we are excited by this unique and regionally relevant opportunity that will support the acceleration of our on-premise business across more of our markets.

“The proven complementarity of our premium spirits business with our strong NARTD [Non-Alcoholic Ready-To-Drink] portfolio enables us to offer solutions for a broad range of 24/7 consumption occasions, particularly socialising moments.

“We view this as an attractive investment and a natural evolution of our role as one of Finlandia’s distribution partners, further attesting to the strength of our time-tested and wide-ranging partnership with Brown-Forman. We appreciate the trust placed in us and look forward to creating more value for our partners and customers by capturing new opportunities with our well-rounded beverage portfolio.”

Brown-Forman CEO Lawson Whiting added: “We believe Coca-Cola HBC is well-suited to support Finlandia’s future stages of development.

“I am confident that Coca-Cola HBC’s growth ambitions and capabilities in premium spirits, its critical mass and executional excellence, coupled with its leading sales and distribution credentials in the markets where it operates, will accelerate Finlandia’s growth trajectory.”

Shares in Coca-Cola HBC opened down 1.8% to 2,290p this morning.

Morning update

British American Tobacco has announced a raft of changes to its management board following the appointment of Tadeu Marroco as its chief executive last month.

Johan Vandermeulen will be appointed to the new role of chief operating officer, reporting into Marroco, with effect from 1 July 2023.

This role would be accountable for “driving business performance, operational excellence and best-in-class execution”, with a focus on short-term and sustainable delivery, the group said.

David Waterfield, promoted to the management board as president and CEO of Reynolds American Inc, will report into Vandermeulen.

Fred Monteiro, director of Americas & Europe, and Michael Dijanosic, director of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, Zafar Khan, director of operations, and Javed Iqbal, director of digital and information, will also report to the new COO.

Kingsley Wheaton will be appointed to the new role of chief strategy and growth officer, with effect from 1 September 2023.

James Murphy, director of research and science, and Jerome Abelman, director of legal affairs and general counsel, will continue in their roles, reporting directly to the CEO.

Guy Meldrum, currently president and CEO of Reynolds American Inc, and Paul Lageweg, currently director of new categories, will step down from their roles and from the management board with effect from 30 June 2023.

Hae In Kim will step down from the management board with effect from 30 June 2023 to take up the role of strategic talent director.

The existing roles of chief transformation officer, chief growth officer, director of new categories and director of combustibles will be removed from the management board.

A search is also underway to appoint successors for the roles of finance director and director of talent, culture and inclusion.

Marroco said: “This refreshed management board structure is critical to my commitment to build a progressive and agile organisation with a collaborative and inclusive culture, enabling simultaneous performance and transformation.”

The FTSE 100 started the week down 0.4% to 7,616pts.

Early fmcg risers include Bakkavor, up 6.3% to 97.8p, McBride, up 2.2% to 27.4p, and Greencore, up 2.2% to 76.5p.

Ocado is down 3.2% to 447.2p so far this morning, with THG down 2.3% to 71.2p and Just Eat Takeaway down 2.1% to 1,132.3p.

Yesterday in the City

It is looking fairly quiet again on the markets in terms of scheduled fmcg updates.

Tomorrow brings the latest Kantar grocery market share data for the 12 weeks to 11 June.

THG also holds its AGM on Wednesday, while packaging firm DS Smith reports full-year results on Thursday.

Naked Wines is set to publish its annual figures on Friday, while the latest GfK monthly consumer confidence index and the ONS retail sales figures for May are also out on Friday morning.