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Coca-Cola could opt to sell African bottling unit

Glass bottles of Coca-Cola sit in a wood box on a shelf.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Coca-Cola's options for its African bottling business aren't limited to an IPO, per a source close to the company's thinking and two sources familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: The beverage giant is divesting its bottling operations to focus on its brands.

Driving the news: Coca-Cola was recently reported by Bloomberg to be preparing its African operations for an IPO as early as next year at an $8 billion valuation.

Yes, but: A sale is also on the table, with timing yet to be determined, says the source close to the company.

  • An IPO of the African bottling business will be difficult to pull off, particularly within the next year or two, the two sources familiar say.
  • Given its size, merging it with another bottler is also an option, one of the sources says.

Catch up quick: Coca-Cola has been selling off parts of its bottling business in regions like India. Earlier this year, it sold Coca-Cola Bangladesh Beverages to Turkey-based Coca-Cola İçecek.

Our thought bubble: Private equity firms have shown an increasing appetite for CPG manufacturing assets.

What they're saying: "The remaining assets in the bottling investments segment include operations in India, Africa and several smaller locations primarily in Asia Pacific," the company said in a statement last fall in connection to Q3 earnings.

  • "The company remains committed to successfully listing Coca-Cola Beverages Africa as a public company via an initial public offering once market conditions become more favorable," it said.

Coca-Cola declined to comment.

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