By Ian Neubauer
CCA launched a $1.85 billion bid to acquire Schweppes in 1999 that was blocked by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over concerns the deal would stifle competition in the sector.
However, Davis, who was a senior executive at the Foster’s Group in 1999, told reporters at CCA’s annual general meeting on Thursday the industry had seen significant developments over the years, and that CCA could now offer a more compelling bid for the brand.
“That was before my time,” he said. “I’m not sure our submission was as good as what it would be today.”
Acquisition rumours gained further momentum today after The Sydney Morning Herald reported the Macquarie Group has placed a valuation restriction on CCA.
However, the likelihood of a Schweppes sell off to CCA or other potential suitors like National Foods or PepsiCo is still unclear given that Cadbury Schweppes maintains it has no intention of selling its beverage business.
“We are not planning to sell. That is purely speculative,” said Cadbury Schweppes Australia corporate affairs manager, Robyn Newman.
Australia is now the only country in the world where Cadbury Schweppes manufactures beverages following the demerger of the company’s confectionary and beverage business in the US earlier this month.