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Together they continue to revolutionise the fruit preparation industry

Aran Group, a leading manufacturer of bag-in-box solutions, announces the successful completion of the acquisition of a majority stake in IBA Germany from previous owner Liquid Concept GmbH (LC). This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone in Aran’s growth journey, providing an exceptional opportunity for developing 1000-liter IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers) and a strong foothold in the large German market. The acquisition also positions Aran to penetrate nearby markets, including Scandinavia. The Aran-IBA operation is led by Managing Director Dan Abraham alongside Sascha Siebel, COO & Chief Engineer and a worldwide expert in BIB and food packaging.

Aran Group acquires majority stake in IBA Germany
(Photo: Aran)

Lior Mor, CEO of Aran Group, conveyed his excitement about the new acquisition: “This is a tremendous commercial, managerial, and leadership opportunity for all of us at Aran and IBA. With the support of the board and management and Aran staff, we aim to achieve significant milestones in the near future. Welcoming the latest addition to our group, IBA is officially part of the Aran Group as of January 2024, enhancing our presence in Europe. This strategic acquisition joins our existing plants in Spain, the USA, and Israel, further solidifying our global footprint. Congratulations and success to all of us at Aran and IBA on this exciting new chapter.”

“This acquisition will allow the Aran Group to become a significant player in 1000-liter aseptic packaging solutions for transporting sensitive food products”, says Dan Abraham. “It will also serve as a base of activity for the entire group in the German market and neighboring countries.

Revolutionary partnership drives industry advancements

IBA is known for its innovative solutions, based on the creative innovation led by Sascha Siebel. Headquartered in Luhne Germany IBA is a key player in the production and sale of flexible IBCs for transporting high-quality food products. The IBA Tainer aseptic IBC is a patented 1000-liter container designed for transporting liquid food. Featuring a protective cage and a disposable flexible bag. This inventive solution offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional stainless-steel containers and ensures an aseptic environment with excellent barriers to safeguard the product. This eliminates the need for complex washing and sterilisation processes, mitigating the risk of contamination and preserving the integrity of the valuable contents. Beyond its economic advantages, IBA Tainer is a significantly lighter solution, reducing the required energy during the entire value chain.

Aran’s partnership with IBA, spanning 10 years, has facilitated mutual growth. The acquisition of IBA by Aran is expected to intensify market penetration in Europe, particularly in Germany, where the bag-in-box market generates 45-50 million euros. It will enable Aran to leverage its global network for exporting IBA products beyond Germany, using both the unique tap and IBA Tainer. The deal also lays the groundwork for expanding into neighboring markets.

Aran and IBA’s combined capabilities and technology are expected to drive substantial growth in the coming years.

Investment to grow critical infrastructure of leading global beverage solutions provider

Refresco Group B.V., one of the largest independent beverage contract manufacturers in the world, and KKR, a leading global investment firm, announced that KKR has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Refresco, with Refresco’s existing investors, PAI Partners and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (“BCI”), maintaining a significant minority position. Terms of the transaction, which is subject to closing conditions, were not disclosed.

Founded in 1999, Refresco is a global independent beverage solutions provider for retailers and branded beverage companies with pan-regional coverage in Europe and North America through its network of bottling, warehousing, logistics and other operational assets. The Company’s production platform includes over 70 majority-owned manufacturing sites in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Mexico, providing customers with close proximity and a reliable service across geographies. Refresco has built long-standing relationships with its customers by partnering to support material planning, procurement, manufacturing, warehousing, fulfillment, and distribution.

KKR will support Refresco as it expands its global and strategically located footprint to better serve existing and new customers through a range of formats and channels. The Company will build on its ability to manufacture high quality products that meet the growing demand for sustainable beverage solutions, with a focus on sustainable sourcing, responsible production and environmentally friendly operations.

“We are very pleased to welcome KKR, one of the world’s most prominent investment firms, as our new majority owner. We are proud that PAI and BCI will continue as shareholders, which is a testament to our successful value creation,” said Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco. “To support further growth, we have explored the various alternatives available to us and believe that the investment by KKR is an incredibly positive development for the Company. Like our existing shareholders, KKR is supportive of our strategy and will bring operational expertise, access to capital and a well-established network to support us in our growth, innovation and M&A strategy. Our focus of growing alongside our customers, combined with expanding into new categories and geographies, remains unchanged. I look forward to this new chapter, and for all our employees and customers to capitalize on the opportunities ahead of us.”

“Refresco has established itself as an industry leader supporting the global beverage industry with a blue-chip global customer base, an experienced and highly regarded management team, and an impressive network of assets that provides compelling value to customers. The Company also has a strong commitment to sustainability, which is an important differentiator for its customers,” said James Cunningham, Partner at KKR. “We look forward to leveraging our operational expertise from across the KKR platform to support the Company’s continued growth and further advance the sustainability of its value chain.”

“We are proud to have been instrumental in Refresco’s growth since we initiated our investment with BCI in 2018,” said Frédéric Stévenin, Managing Partner of PAI Partners. “We are even more excited about the prospect of continuing to stay a part of Refresco’s strong growth trajectory alongside KKR. We are convinced of Refresco’s unique value-add capabilities, its growth initiatives and a proven M&A track record, and we look forward to the next phase of this journey.”

“As an institutional investor with a long-term perspective, supporting strong management teams and market leading companies is core to our private equity program. We are in full agreement with Frédéric’s comments and are very happy to continue this partnership with management, PAI and KKR,” said Julian Remedios, Senior Managing Director, Private Equity, BCI.

KKR is making this investment primarily through its Global Infrastructure strategy, which was established in 2008. Since that time, KKR has been one of the most active infrastructure investors around the world with a team of more than 70 dedicated investment professionals. The firm currently oversees approximately $ 40 billion in infrastructure assets and has made over 60 infrastructure investments across a range of sub-sectors and geographies.

About KKR
KKR is a leading global investment firm that offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and supporting growth in its portfolio companies and communities. KKR sponsors investment funds that invest in private equity, credit and real assets and has strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR’s insurance subsidiaries offer retirement, life and reinsurance products under the management of Global Atlantic Financial Group. References to KKR’s investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds and insurance subsidiaries.

Following its announcement on 12 August 2021, Coca-Cola HBC AG (“Coca-Cola HBC”) announced the completion of the acquisition by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Coca-Cola HBC Holdings BV (“CCH Holdings”), of approximately 52.7 % of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Egypt S.A.E. (“CCBCE”) from MAC Beverages Limited (“MBL”) and certain of its affiliated parties for cash consideration of US$304 million, subject to certain balance sheet adjustments. An additional earnout amount may be payable based on CCBCE’s financial performance in 2021. Mr. Abdul Galil Besher, the current executive chairman of CCBCE, will remain as non-executive chairman of CCBCE. The transaction with MBL also involves the potential acquisition by CCH Holdings, at the same price per share to be paid to MBL, of another approximately 2.8 % stake from certain other minority shareholders pursuant to agreements to be entered into in due course.

In addition, a convertible loan issued to a wholly-owned affiliate of The Coca-Cola Company (the “TCCC Seller”) by CCBCE, convertible into new CCBCE shares, has been transferred to CCH Holdings for a cash consideration of approximately US$22 million (which is equal to its outstanding principal amount and unpaid interest).

Completion of the acquisition by CCH Holdings of approximately 42 % of CCBCE from the TCCC Seller, also announced on 12 August 2021, is expected to occur later this month, bringing CCH Holdings’ total ownership in CCBCE to 94.7 %.

The acquisition gives Coca-Cola HBC access to the second-largest non-alcoholic ready-to-drink (“NARTD”) market in Africa by volume, building on existing scale in Africa and increasing Coca-Cola HBC’s exposure to high growth geographies. There is a significant opportunity to leverage Coca-Cola HBC’s proven route-to-market capabilities and 70 years of experience operating in emerging markets to increase penetration of The Coca-Cola Company’s brand portfolio and drive category leadership.