Coca-Cola seals $980m Saudi soft drinks deal

COCA-COLA has acquired about half of the equity in the beverage business of Saudi Arabia-based Aujan Industries for $980m (£634m) to expand its presence in non-alcoholic beverages in the Middle East.

Under the agreement, Coca-Cola will acquire a 50 per cent stake in the entity that holds the rights to Aujan’s brands and a 49 per cent stake in its bottling and distribution company.

Ahmet Bozer, president of Coca-Cola in Eurasia and Africa, said in a statement that the region was poised for growth.

“The Middle East is a high-growth region with some of the highest rates of non alcoholic ready-to-drink per capita consumption,” Bozer said in a statement.

Aujan chairman Adel Aujan told Arabiya television in an interview that he hoped to double revenue in five years from the current 3bn riyals (£517m) per year.

“Sixty-five per cent of our sales are outside the kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] and we compete with international companies so as time goes by I see that these giant international companies -- we don’t have their capabilities.”