Beverage Industry

Industry Issues

February 1, 2005

Takeover Building Down Under
Wine and beer producer Foster’s has made a bid for Australian winemaker Southcorp. Foster’s purchased an 18.8 percent interest in the company from Reline Investments, then extended the offer to all Southcorp investors, which would put the value of the acquisition at A$3.1 billion. If the acquisition goes through, it would reportedly give Foster’s total sales of about A$4.8 billion and wine sales of about A$2.6 billion, or about 39 million cases annually, putting it second only to Constellation Brands in the wine industry.
Foster’s has said the combination with Southcorp is “strategically and financially compelling,” and that it would create a “global wine company with an unrivaled collection of premium wine brands.” It also would give Foster’s greater scale in key geographic regions and price segments in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Molson, Coors complete merger
Shareholders of both Molson and Coors Brewing Co. have approved the merger of the two companies, creating Molson Coors Brewing Co., the fifth-largest brewing company in the world by volume. Coors Chief Executive Officer Leo Kiely will head the new company as its CEO, and Coors Chief Financial Officer Tim Wolf also will retain that position. Eric Molson will serve as chairman of the new company and Peter Coors will become vice chairman.
Shortly after Coors shareholders approved the deal, Kiely said one of the new company’s first tasks will be to assess Molson’s struggling business in Brazil.
Pernod considers Allied acquisition
European wine and spirits companies Pernod Ricard and Allied Domecq are said to be looking at a merger. Reports at presstime were that the companies had not yet met to discuss the possibility, but that people familiar with the matter said Paris-based Pernod has consulted with JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley to explore a possible merger. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, there is little overlap between the companies’ brands, with the exception of cognac, where both have major brands.
Wal-Mart, P&G hold their lead
Cannondale Associates recently released its annual PoweRanking Survey highlighting the best in retail and consumer product manufacturing. Procter & Gamble led manufacturers, with improvements in six of the eight categories measured. Wal-Mart took top honors in retailing for the sixth consecutive year, but slid 1.1 percent in its overall score.
P&G was up an overall 5.3 percent, and led in the areas of clearest company strategy, most important consumer brands to retailers, most innovative marketing programs and approach, most helpful consumer information, best supply chain management and best practice category management. Kraft Foods was the leader in best combination of growth and profitability and best sales force/customer teams.
Beverage companies did not fare as well in the rankings. Pepsi-Cola dropped 2.4 percent in its overall score, and Coca-Cola fell 6 percent. Quaker Beverages & Foods increased 0.4 percent in overall rankings. Cannondale points out that PepsiCo would rank No. 3 among all manufacturers if its businesses were measured together. They are measured separately because they are perceived that way by retailers.
On the retailer side, Wal-Mart led other retailers in the categories of clearest company strategy, best job of branding stores, projected to be power retailers in the next 15 years, best retailer with which to do business, best category management/ buying teams, best supply chain management and best practice/category management. HEB pulled ahead of the world’s largest retailer in the category of most innovating consumer marketing/merchandising.
Cannondale’s annual Powe-Ranking results are based on retailers’ rankings of manufacturers and product manufacturers’ rankings of the retailers with whom they work.
Diageo wraps up Chalone buy
Diageo has completed its purchase of the Chalone Wine Group Ltd., which now will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.
In addition to the price per share associated with the acquisition, Chalone shareholders were allowed to join Chalone’s Shareholder Cellars wine club and receive $1 wine credit per share of common stock owned prior to the merger.
“The brands and varietals of the Chalone Wine Group are an extremely good strategic fit with our current business,” said Ray Chadwick, president of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines. “We are now well positioned to capitalize on the improving U.S. demographic and consumption trends in the premium wine segment.”
Coca-Cola sues over OJ packaging
The Coca-Cola Co. has filed suit against Florida’s Natural Growers over a Florida’s Natural orange juice carafe package it feels is too similar to Simply Orange. Plastipak, the manufacturer of the bottle in question is not named in the suit.
According to the filing, Coca-Cola holds two patents on the carafe design used for Simply Orange. Coca-Cola is looking for an order barring Florida’s Natural from using the design, as well as profits gained from prior use. BI
Innovations in PET at drinktec
PET packaging will play a big part at drinktec 2005, Sept. 12-17 in Munich, Germany, thanks to the integration of PETpoint into the show. PETpoint will feature a number of exhibitors with innovations from raw material through finished product, and “means that PETpoint visitors and exhibitors, as well as the traditional drinktec halls, can take advantage of their close proximity to each other,” says Hermann Graf Castell of Krones, a member of the show’s advisory committee.
The integration also recognizes the importance of PET to the global beverage market. Global production of PET is currently about 6 million tons, and growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent annually. Exhibitors will include producers of PET resin, machinery manufacturers, bottle manufacturers, fillers, suppliers of ancillary equipment, closures and labels, as well as companies offering machines and services for recycling. Two years ago, PETpoint attracted 2,847 visitors from 65 countries. It covered 2,736 square meters and 76 exhibitors. In Munich it will occupy 10,000 square meters in two completely new exhibition halls specially designed for showing machinery.
In addition, there will be an accompanying World PET Congress at the International Congress Center München. Experts from all sectors of the PET industry will present the latest developments in marketing strategies and the demands of global distribution chains, design and selection of the right PET bottles for hot and cold aseptic filling. It also will cover the latest in preform and bottle manufacturing technology using the single-stage and two-stage processes, innovations in filling machines and secondary packaging, plus waste disposal and alternative recycling processes. BI
People
Larry Schwartz has been appointed president, U.S. spirits at Diageo as part of a reorganization of its North American business. Kevin O’Neil will continue to lead the U.S. control states business, and Gilbert Ghostine has been named managing director Northern Europe... Coors Brewing Co., Golden, Colo., has named Lee Buxton interim chief marketing officer, replacing Ron Askew... Cadbury Schweppes America’s Beverages has appointed Bert Alfonso executive vice president of finance, replacing David Gerics, who has become senior vice president of corporate finance... Southern Wine & Spirits has selected Michael Jahn as general manager of its Arizona division. Richard Crossland has been named general manager for Colorado operations... Camilo Rojas has become branch marketing manager for Silver Eagle Distributors LP, Houston... Mike Westrick has been named vice president of winemaking at Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines’ Sterling Vineyards, Napa, Calif... Go Fast Sports & Beverage Co., Denver, Colo., has named Alan Cortes chief operating officer... Pacific Wine Partners has appointed Janice Shallin western division vice president... Bridget Epp has become vice president of sales, eastern division, at Wente Family Estates, Livermore, Calif... Infinite Spirits, San Francisco, has named Nancy Ramamurthi vice president of marketing... Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, Los Olivos, Calif., has selected Brett Escalera as director of winemaking, and named Manou Chahmirzadi to oversee sales in its Midwest territory.