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News 26.07.2016

Refresco Takes First Step Into North America By Acquiring Whitlock Packaging

Refresco Group N.V., the leading European bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for A-brands and retailers, today announced…

Refresco Group N.V., the leading European bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices for A-brands and retailers, today announced it has agreed to acquire US-based bottler Whitlock Packaging. The purchase price is USD 129 million, equal to EUR 117 million[1], on a debt and cash free basis. This represents an EV/adjusted EBITDA multiple of 7.3x and is in line with the average multiple paid by Refresco on previous transactions. The acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive in the first full year of consolidation.

Refresco has established its leading position in Europe over the past 16 years through the successful execution of its buy & build strategy. The acquisition of Whitlock Packaging represents a new chapter in Refresco's growth strategy as it enters the North American market for the first time. The acquisition of a large scale US bottler is Refresco's first step towards expansion beyond Europe and creates a strong second platform for further growth in North America.

Strategic rationale
The acquisition of Whitlock Packaging significantly expands Refresco's addressable market and substantially grows its co-packing to 34 % of total group volume. Whitlock Packaging has long-standing relationships with leading A-brands in the US soft drinks market and more than 80 % of Whitlock Packaging volumes relate to customers currently being served by Refresco in Europe. Refresco will now be able to provide A-brands and retail customers with reliable supply chain solutions in Europe and North America.

Refresco has developed a successful private label business in Europe and intends to leverage its experience to further develop Whitlock Packaging's private label capabilities. It will contribute to Whitlock Packaging's expansion with a focus on innovation, procurement, operational excellence and industry best practices.

Refresco intends to continue executing its buy & build strategy both in Europe and North America by making selective investments and acquisitions, and targeting value-creating opportunities. The acquisition of Whitlock Packaging is the first step towards establishing a similar market position in North America as Refresco has achieved in Europe, with comparable returns.
[1] At USD/EUR rate of 1.098. Subject to final adjustments at closing.

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