Coca-Cola Expands to the Middle East

(Written by Rebecca Lipman. List compiled by Alexander Crawford. Data sourced from Finviz.)

It’s hard to imagine a place on earth not overrun with Coca-Cola (KO) vending machines, but apparently there is: The Middle East is one of the few final frontiers for Coke, where they’re preparing to conquer its beverage market.

The Deal

Bloomberg reports Coca-Cola “agreed to acquire about half of the equity in the beverage business of Saudi Arabia-based Aujan Industries in what the companies described as a $980 million transaction.”

In doing so Coca-Cola will acquire 50% of the Aujan entity that holds the rights to the Rani and Barbican brands and 49% of Aujan’s bottling and distribution unit. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2012.

According to Reuters, the deal would be the largest-ever investment by a multinational company in the Middle East’s consumer goods sector.

But not all of the Middle East will be graced with Coca-Cola’s sugary sweet concoction – the deal excludes Aujan’s Iranian manufacturing and distribution business.

Middle East Beverage Market

“The Middle East is a high-growth region with some of the highest rates of non-alcoholic ready-to-drink per-capita consumption,” Ahmet C. Bozer, Coca-Cola’s group president for Eurasia and Africa, said in the statement. (via Bloomberg)

Coca-Cola’s products will be closely tied with Aujan’s other products in order to promote quick growth and popularity in the region.

The move to join forces with Aujan, one of the biggest companies in Saudi Arabia, is seen as a bid to catch up with arch-rival PepsiCo (PEP), which already has a sizable stake in the Middle Eastern market.

Investing Ideas

Interested in following the trends of the beverage industry? To help you along we list below the ten largest soft drink companies trading on the US stock exchange.

Do you think any of these names are threatened by KO’s expansion into the Middle East?

Analyze These Ideas (Tools Will Open In A New Window)

1. Access a thorough description of all companies mentioned

2. Compare analyst ratings for all stocks mentioned below

3. Visualize annual returns for all stocks mentioned

List sorted by market cap.

1. The Coca-Cola Company (KO): Distributes, and markets nonalcoholic beverages worldwide. Market cap of $150.99B. The stock has gained 7.04% over the last year.

2. Pepsico, Inc. (PEP): Engages in the manufacture, marketing, and sale of foods, snacks, and carbonated and non-carbonated beverages worldwide. Market cap of $100.50B. The stock has gained 1.09% over the last year.

3. Coca-Cola FEMSA S.A.B de C.V. (KOF): Produces, markets, and distributes Coca-Cola trademark beverages and brands. Market cap of $16.08B.

4. Hansen Natural Corporation (HANS): Engages in the development, marketing, sale, and distribution of beverages in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $8.25B. The stock has gained 85.54% over the last year.

5. Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. (DPS): Engages in the manufacture and distribution of non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Market cap of $8.07B. The stock has gained 4.09% over the last year.

6. Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (CCE): Produces, distributes, and markets non-alcoholic beverages in Europe. Market cap of $7.84B. The stock has lost 0.51% over the last year.

7. Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company S.A. (CCH): Engages in the production, sale, and distribution of alcohol-free beverages primarily in Europe. Market cap of $5.55B. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 15.89%.

8. National Beverage Corp. (FIZZ): Develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes beverage products in the United States. Market cap of $762.07M. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.11% (equivalent to 14.38 days of average volume). The stock has gained 22.36% over the last year.

9. SodaStream International Ltd. (SODA): Engages in the development, manufacture, and marketing of home beverage carbonation systems and related products. Market cap of $664.40M. The stock has gained 9.76% over the last year.

10. Cott Corporation (COT): Engages in the production and distribution of retailer brand beverages in North America and internationally. Market cap of $593.44M. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.31). The stock has lost 23.41% over the last year.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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