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Puerto Rico's Bacardi gets out of Coke bottling business
Impact International / July 15, 1995

By Larry Luxner

Puerto Rico's Bacardi Corp. is getting out of the Coca-Cola business.

Company president Roberto del Rosal says Bacardi plans to sell its manufacturing and distribution franchise for Coca-Cola in Puerto Rico, acquired in 1989, as part of Bacardi's strategy "to focus on the sale of alcoholic beverages ... the mainstay of our company."

Bacardi has contracted Atlanta-based Glover Capital Inc. -- brokers for Coca-Cola bottling plants worldwide -- to find buyers for the franchise, which bottles and distributes 10 million cases of Coca-Cola products per year. The plant, located in the central mountain town of Cayey, generates about $100 million in annual sales and $5 million in earnings.

Marion Glover, president of Glover Capital, said "several dozen" investors from Puerto Rico, the U.S. mainland, Mexico and elsewhere have shown interest in the Coke franchise, which includes Coca-Cola bottling rights in Puerto Rico and majority ownership of a Coke distributorship on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.

"We have not reached any agreement with anyone yet, but we envision we'll have an agreement within the next several months," said Glover. While he declined to say how much the Puerto Rico operation is worth, he did say the sale price would far exceed the $30 million Bacardi has invested in the operation since 1989.

"Bacardi is selling off every part of its non-alcoholic business, from plastics to hotels," he said. "They also own a joint venture in Nassau which they're selling to the other joint-venture partner."

About 350 people work at the Cayey bottling plant. "As far as we know, all of them will stay on," Glover said. "We don't see any changes."

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