Juice maker Refresco agrees French-Canadian buyout

The Hague (AFP) –

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Refresco, Europe's largest juice and soft-drink bottler, said Wednesday it had agreed a 1.6-billion-euro ($1.9-billion) joint takeover bid from French and Canadian investors.

The Dutch independent bottler, which works with brands such as Innocent and Del Monte, had fended off an initial offer from the Paris-based PAI private equity firm in April worth 1.4 billion euros.

But in joint statement Wednesday, the companies, including Canadian investors bcIMC, said they had agreed "on a recommended cash public offer of 20 euros for all shares of Refresco".

The deal would price the company at 3.3 billion euros, the statement added.

"This offer represents a fair value for our shareholders and is yet another milestone for the company," said Refresco chief executive Hans Roelofs, urging shareholders to accept the deal.

The Rotterdam-based company bottles soft drinks and fruit juices for retailers across mainland Europe, Britain and the United States.

It employs some 5,500 people and last year bottled some 6.5 billion litres of soft drinks and juice, earning a net profit of 82 million euros.