DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—The Coca-Cola Co. is buying a 50 per cent stake in Saudi Arabia’s Aujan Industries for US$980 million, in a deal pairing the U.S. soda giant with one of the Middle East’s top independent beverage companies.
Atlanta-based Coca-Cola will get a 50 per cent stake in the part of Aujan that holds rights to the company’s brands and 49 per cent of its distribution company.
The companies say it is the largest investment yet by a multinational firm in the region’s consumer goods industry.
The fast-growing Middle East has some of the world’s highest rates of nonalcoholic drink consumption, says Ahmet C. Bozer, who heads Coca-Cola’s Eurasia and Africa Group.
Aujan sells the popular Rani line of fruit drinks and the nonalcoholic malt drink Barbican throughout the Middle East.
It also holds the regional license for Vimto, a British spiced fruit drink that is popular with many Muslims celebrating the holy month of Ramadan.
The acquisition doesn’t include Aujan’s manufacturing and distribution business in Iran, which is subject to multiple U.S. sanctions.