Britvic soft-drink marketer bets on Brazil long-term with Ebba purchase

Britvic, one of the leading soft drinks companies in Europe with operations in Great Britain, Ireland and France, is betting on the long-term prospects of Brazil with the recently announced purchase of Empresa Brasileira de Bebidas e Alimentos (Ebba), a company spokesman said Thursday.

“Brazil is one of the largest soft drinks markets in the world and, while there are some economic headwinds at the moment, growth is forecasted next year and the long-term market trends are positive,¨ Ben Foster, spokesman for Britvic, said to Latin Business Daily by email.

¨We are particularly excited to be acquiring Ebba as it is the leading player in the dilutes segment, which we understand well from our leading positions in the UK and France,” Foster added.

The company announced a week earlier the purchase for 120.8 million British pounds (about US $188 million) for Ebba which ¨is the number one supplier of liquid concentrates (known as dilutes) and the number two supplier of ready-to-drink nectar drinks¨ in the South American country.

According to Britvic, Brazil is the world´s sixth largest soft drink market and the largest concentrates, or dilutes, market globally.

Britvic wants to build on Ebba´s existing strong presence to start ¨introducing Britvic brands to the Brazilian market,¨ according to the company.

Some of the better known brands owned by Britvic include Robinsons, Tango, J2O, MiWadi, Ballygowan, Teisseire and Fruité. Besides marketing its own brands, the company produces and sells in Great Britain and Ireland several PepsiCo brands under an agreement. The company has also been expanding its reach into other markets including the United States, according to Britvic´s website.

The latest projections by Anbima, an association that represents investment banks in Brazil, show that the country´s gross domestic product is expected to contract 1.9 percent in 2015. However, for 2016 the projection is for a 0.3 percent expansion.

Simon Litherland, CEO of Britvic, has said that part of the decision behind the purchase is that the relevance of Ebba´s brands to Brazilian consumers is similar to that which Britvic brand names command in home markets.

¨We have identified opportunities to invest behind these leading brands, introduce new brands, and harness our group capability. As a result, we are confident we have a fantastic opportunity to drive long-term growth,¨ Litherland has said.

Britvic has already announced that Ebba´s management team lead by Joal Caetano de Mello Neto will remain.