Refresco works will most of the major retailers in the UK, as well as household brands

Dutch soft drink bottling giant Refresco has been acquired by US investment firm KKR.

Current owners PAI Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) will retain a significant minority holding in the group.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed but PAI paid just more than €1.6bn (equivalent to £1.4bn at the time) for Refresco in late 2017.

Founded in 1999, Rotterdam-headquartered Refresco is one of the largest independent beverage contract manufacturers in the world, making own label juices and soft drinks for retailers and household brands.

It covers most of Europe and North America through its network of bottling, warehousing, logistics and other operational assets and its production platform includes more than 70 majority-owned factories.

KKR said it would support Refresco as the group expands its global footprint to better serve existing and new customers through a range of formats and channels.

It added that the company would build on its ability to manufacture high-quality products to meet the growing demand for sustainable drinks, with a focus on sourcing, responsible production and environmentally friendly operations.

Refresco CEO Hans Roelofs said: “To support further growth, we have explored the various alternatives available to us and believe that the investment by KKR is an incredibly positive development for the company.

“Like our existing shareholders, KKR is supportive of our strategy and will bring operational expertise, access to capital and a well-established network to support us in our growth, innovation and M&A strategy.

“Our focus of growing alongside our customers, combined with expanding into new categories and geographies, remains unchanged. I look forward to this new chapter, and for all our employees and customers to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us.”