PAI Weighs Options for $6 Billion Bottler Refresco

PAI Partners is considering options for Refresco, including a possible initial public offering that could value the bottling business at about $6 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The French buyout firm has been holding preliminary discussions with potential advisers as it studies a U.S. listing of Refresco, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. It could start formal preparations in the next few months, the people said. 

Rotterdam-based Refresco is the largest independent bottler operating in Europe and North America, according to its website. It helps brands produce everything from ready-to-drink teas and coffees to juices, energy drinks and beer. 

The company has been on an acquisition spree recently, agreeing to buy German mineral water company Hansa-Heemann in July and three of Coca-Cola Co.’s U.S. production facilities in August. Refresco reported a 15% rise in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to 159 million euros ($186 million) for the second quarter.

Refresco may also attract interest from blank-check companies or other private equity firms, the people said. Deliberations are at an early stage, and there’s no certainty they will lead to a transaction, the people said. A representative for PAI declined to comment.

PAI, which bought into Refresco in 2018 at a valuation of 3.4 billion euros, is an experienced investor in the food and beverage space. Earlier this month, it agreed to buy PepsiCo Inc.’s juice brands, including Tropicana and Naked, for about $3.3 billion. 

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