Coca-Cola to buy Serb juice producer

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. and The Coca-Cola Co. are to jointly buy 100 percent of Serbian fresh juice producer Fresh and Co., Coca-Cola HBC said Friday. The net amount to be paid for the purchase is Ђ19.5 million (US$23.5 million), Coca-Cola HBC said.

The final purchase price is subject to certain adjustments and includes the settlement of some of Fresh and Co.'s financial obligations, Coca-Cola HBC said. The acquisition includes a production facility at Subotica and the juice and nectar brands "Next" and "Su-Voce."

The deal is subject to regulatory approval, but is expected to be completed by the end of February. The purchase is in line with Coca-Cola HBC's strategy to expand in the non-carbonated nonalcoholic beverages market.

Coca-Cola HBC is the world's third-largest bottler of products for U.S.-based Coca-Cola Co., which has a 24 percent stake in the Greek company.

On Thursday, Coca-Cola HBC said it will restructure Greek operations as part of a strategy to improve efficiency, with around 150 redundancies out of a total Greece-based work force of 2,400 employees, reports the AP. N.U.