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Gruppo Campari sharpens spirits focus with soft drink sale

Gruppo Campari has sold its Lemonsoda brand for €80 million (about US$94m), as the group continues to offload its soft drinks business to focus on its core spirits range.

Gruppo Campari sells Lemonsoda for €80 million (about US$94m)

The group announced yesterday that it reached an agreement to sell the business to Danish-based beverage company Royal Unibrew A/S.

The deal includes the alcohol free fruit-flavoured carbonated variants Lemonsoda, Oransoda, Pelmosoda and Mojito Soda, grouped under the Freedea brand name, as well as the Crodo brands, with the exception of non-alcoholic aperitif brand Crodino.

It also includes the manufacturing and bottling facility, located in Crodo, Northern Italy, and the attached water springs as well as the inventories.

This transaction fits Gruppo Campari’s strategy to streamline its brand portfolio and focus on its core spirits business. Since the beginning of 2017 Gruppo Campari has divested several non-strategic assets for a total value of €310 million, including the sale of its wine operation and Carolans Irish Cream Liqueur and Irish Mist, earlier this year.

As part of the transaction and effective from closing, Gruppo Campari and Royal Unibrew will enter into a multi-year manufacturing agreement, under which Royal Unibrew will continue to manufacture certain Gruppo Campari-owned products, which are currently produced at the bottling facility located in Crodo.

“The sale of the Lemonsoda and Crodo business marks a further key step in our strategy of streamlining our non-core activities,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitzchief executive officer of Gruppo Campari.

“ In particular, with this transaction we exit the soft drinks business, while retaining our core Crodino brand, to further focus on our key aperitif business in Italy. We are very pleased to sign this transaction with Royal Unibrew, a focused player and brand developer in the soft drinks and mineral water segments, and a perfect fit for the Lemonsoda business. Moreover, we are glad to transfer the Crodo facility to a Group investing in the soft drinks segment with ambitious growth plans for the manufacturing site.”

Hans Savonije, CEO Royal Unibrew, added: ‘Today’s acquisition cements our commitment to the Italian market and expands our position. In Ceres Strong Ale, we have one must-stock product, and now we’re adding Lemonsoda as number two to our portfolio.

“Lemonsoda is the Italian market leader within citrus-based soft drinks products and is almost as widely distributed as Ceres Strong Ale. This is one of the reasons why we consider the new business a good match. We believe that our extensive multi-beverage experience will enable us to generate growth in the acquired business.”

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

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