Beverage Giant Buys Pepsi Bottler

March 16, 2007

Costa Rican beverage giant Florida Ice & Farm, which owns the Cervecería Costa Rica, will now bottle and distribute Pepsi products here after this week’s $116 million buyout.

The drink producer acquired the Costa Rican operations of SABMiller, one of the world’s largest beer makers. In the buyout, Florida Ice acquired the bottling and distribution operations of Pepsico in Costa Rica. The company also became the majority shareholder of Reserva Conchal, a 900-acre hotel and real estate development in Guanacaste that includes the fivestar luxury hotel Paradisus Playa Conchal and adjacent golf course.

“For Florida Bebidas this is an important step in its strategic mission to become one of the leading businesses in the Central American beverage industry,” the company said in a statement.

Florida Ice & Farm, the biggest employer in Costa Rica according to the Labor Ministry, has been growing in recent years. In August of last year, it bought out the Guatemalan food and juice company Kern’s for $86 million. In January of this year it bought rights to the energy drink Maxxx.

It has recently added an array of beverages to its portfolio, including Cristal water, Tropical and Tampico fruit drinks, and alcoholic beverages Smirnoff Ice and Bamboo, among others.With the buyout, Florida will also become the distributor of Gatorade sports drinks in Costa Rica.

In the acquisition, Florida Ice acquired the manufacturing plants of Embotelladora Centroamericana (ECSA) and of the Distribuidora Centroamericana de Bebidas (DCB), both based in Barreal de Heredia, north of San José.

The buyout means the employer will add another 350 employees for a total of more than 3,000 workers.

The company’s operations now account for about a third of the beverage industry in Costa Rica. The acquisition transaction is expected to be complete by the end of this month.

 

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