Coca-Cola HBC has reached an agreement to acquire Brown-Forman Finland Oy, owner of the Finlandia vodka brand, from Brown-Forman Corporation’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Brown-Forman Netherlands BV.
The agreed purchase price amounts to US$220 million and is subject to customary closing price adjustments. The acquisition is being made through Coca-Cola HBC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, CC Beverages Holdings II BV. Completion of the proposed transaction is expected in the second half of 2023 and is subject to regulatory approvals.
Finlandia was established in 1970 and is a leading vodka brand in Central and Eastern Europe with annual volumes of 2.7 million 9L cases globally, of which more than 60% is being generated within Coca-Cola HBC’s geographic footprint. Finlandia is bottled by Anora Group plc in Finland based on a long-term production services agreement and is available in pure and in several flavored versions.
The proposed transaction represents a unique opportunity for Coca-Cola HBC that enhances its journey towards becoming the leading 24/7 beverage partner. Coca-Cola HBC has been distributing Finlandia and other premium spirits brands for more than 17 years and this acquisition will further enrich and strengthen its portfolio across more of its markets.
Ownership of the Finlandia brand will enhance Coca-Cola HBC’s premium spirits credentials; driving mixability opportunities with premium and super-premium Non-Alcoholic Ready-To-Drink (NARTD) products, helping capture more drinking occasions, and strengthening partnerships with customers in strategically important channels such as HoReCa.
Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO, Coca-Cola HBC, 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 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.”
Lawson Whiting, CEO, Brown-Forman, said: “We are pleased to pass on the ownership torch of Finlandia to Coca-Cola HBC, who has proven to be a strong and reliable partner to our brands for more than 17 years. 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.”