Coors, Molson Plan to Merge
Coors Brewing Co., Golden, Colo., and Molson Inc., Montreal, have announced plans to unite. The merger would create the fifth-largest brewer in the world by volume, with 52 billion barrels, and have annual revenues of $6 billion.
The company would be known as Molson Coors Brewing Co. and would be led by Coors Chief Executive Officer Leo Kiely, who will keep the same title, and Molson Chairman Eric Molson, who will serve as chairman of the joint company. The company will have headquarters in Colorado and Montreal.
“This transaction allows us to create a stronger company in a consolidating global industry while preserving Molson’s rich heritage as North America’s oldest beer company and Canada’s leading brewer,” said Eric Molson in a statement.
“I’m very proud to see the company started by my great grandfather more than 130 years ago combine with a company of Molson’s caliber and heritage,” said Coors Chairman Peter Coors. The companies say they expect to generate $175 million per year by 2007 in cost savings and revenues.
The announcement of the merger was followed by rumors that Ian Molson, cousin of Eric Molson, would attempt his own company takeover by acquiring Molson for between $3.8 and $4 billion. Ian Molson and several other Molson board members resigned this spring over disagreements regarding company management. BI
Pepsi gets ‘Smart’
PepsiCo has launched a new “Smart Spot” symbol to put on more than 100 of its products that it says contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Beginning next month, U.S. consumers will find the symbol on Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, Quaker and Diet Pepsi products.
“Consumers have told us they want simple, clear and positive information to help them identify and consume food and beverage choices that contribute to healthier lifestyles, said Steve Reinemund, chairman and chief executive officer at PepsiCo, in a statement. “The Smart Spot symbol is another step in our long-term efforts to improve product choices and encourage healthier lifestyles.”
Products to carry the symbol meet nutrition criteria based on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences. They include limits on fat, cholesterol, sodium and added sugar. The symbol also will identify products that contribute fiber, vitamins and other nutrients to the diet. According to PepsiCo, more than half of its new product revenues come from Smart Spot products, and the company is committed to having at least half of its future new products qualify for the symbol.
In addition to the new symbol, PepsiCo has become the national presenting sponsor for America on the Move, and along with the association, is producing Balance First, educational materials on calorie consumption that will be distributed to elementary school children in the fall. BI
Starbucks, Kraft build relationship
Kraft Foods and Starbucks Coffee Co. are expanding their supply, licensing and distribution agreement with the addition of six new whole bean and ground Starbucks coffees, three distribution channels and national distribution of Seattle’s Best Coffee and Torre-fazione Italia brands. The two companies formed their original partnership in 1998, and the new agreement extends distribution to superstores, drug stores, natural food stores and club stores. Seattle’s Best and Torrefazione were acquired by Starbucks last year, and include 31 flavored, non-flavored and organic Seattle’s Best coffees, as well as eight Torrefazione blends named after regions of Italy. BI
California wine industry achieves 40 percent growth in four years
The Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers have released results of Economic Impact of California Wine 2004. According to the study, the California wine industry grew 40 percent between 1998 and 2002, and contributed more than $45 billion to the state’s economy.
“Our great California wine industry creates more than 200,000 jobs, billions in economic activity and preserves agricultural land and the family farm,” said Wine Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Koch in a statement.
“Despite the challenges of intense global competition, trade barriers, agricultural pests and the constant threat of increased taxes and regulations, the state’s wine industry is strong and a major contributor to the economic vitality of California.”
California is the fourth-largest wine producer in the world after France, Italy and Spain, and had more than $643 million in exports last year. BI