VIETNAM – Swire Pacific has expanded its Coca-Cola bottling business into Southeast Asia with the acquisition of Coca-Cola bottling businesses in Vietnam and Cambodia for US$1.02 billion.

The transaction will see Swire own and operate Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam, which has three bottling facilities, and Cambodia Beverage Company, which has one bottling site.

The company says that, upon completion of the acquisition, Swire Coca-Cola’s franchise population will expand by 15% to 876 million.

Patrick Healy, chairman of Swire Coca-Cola, said: “This acquisition marks a major milestone for Swire Coca-Cola, significantly expanding our operating footprint and population served to a new region.

“We have been investing in building a world-class bottling system over the past 57 years. This expansion of territories is part of a broader strategy to expand the global scale, volume and revenues of our bottling business.”

According to the filing to the Hong Kong Exchange, the after-tax profit of the Vietnamese Coca-Cola operation was US$32 million, while the Cambodian unit was US$3.8 million, both declining by 12% and 65%, respectively, from the year before.

Swire is the fifth-largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world by volume. It has been a bottler for the iconic American beverage brand since 1965 when it acquired a majority stake in the Hong Kong operation.

The franchise area where it has exclusive rights to manufacture, market and distribute the product has gradually expanded to include Taiwan, 13 states in the U.S., 11 provinces and the city of Shanghai in mainland China.

The company currently manufactures 62 beverage brands and distributes them to a market covering 762 million people, according to the company’s website.

Swire Pacific, one of Asia’s oldest conglomerates, returned to profitability last year following record profit at its beverage unit.

The company reported a profit of HK$5.3 billion (US$675.1 million) for 2021, compared with a loss of HK$3.9 billion (US$ 496.81 million) a year earlier when the Covid-19 pandemic first broke out.

Swire Coca-Cola, the group’s beverages division, reported a record profit last year. Net income jumped 23 percent year on year to HK$2.5 billion (US$ 318.47 million).

In addition to beverages, Swire Pacific also has interests in property, aviation, and marine sectors. Its real estate arm, Swire Properties, is one of Hong Kong’s largest retail landlords.

Liked this article? Subscribe to our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s packaging and printing industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE.