By Ian Neubauer

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) has confirmed its interest in Cadbury Schweppes’ billion-dollar beverage business after the confectionary giant yesterday announced it was reviewing its Australian unit.

“Clearly we would be interested in any opportunities that arise,” said CCA director of media and public relations, Sally Loane.

Loane’s comments follow months of speculation and ongoing denials by Cadbury Schweppes that it plans to sell off its beverage business to focus on confectionary.

Australia remains the last place in the world where the company manufacturers beverages following the demerger of its beverage and confectionary business in the Americas this year and in Europe in 2006.

But yesterday’s announcement that accompanied Cadbury plc’s half-year result for 2008 represents an about face that has sent analysts into a spin.

“As it relates to our portfolio and following the demerger of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group [in the US], we intend to review the position of our remaining beverage business,” said Cadbury plc CEO, Todd Stitzer.

“While this business is integrated with our confectionery operations in Australia, we have been separating key commercial functions, primarily to improve the focus on the individual categories of confectionery and beverages. The review will take some months to complete and we will update shareholders on the conclusions of the review when it is complete.”

Cadbury Schweppes beverage business in Australia had what the company describes as “a good half” despite revenues being impacted by the planned exit from a non-core manufacturing contract. It has also received notification from Red Bull that the energy drinks maker intends to assume the distribution for Red Bull in Australia from 2009.   


The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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