Coca-Cola Bottler Builds Brexit Stockpile of Ingredients in U.K.

(Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola European Partners Plc, the world’s biggest independent Coca-Cola bottler, has started stockpiling ingredients in the U.K. to reduce any potential disruption from Brexit.

“The largest risk for our business is the potential for tariffs or delays in transportation,” Nik Jhangiani, the company’s chief financial officer, said on a conference call Thursday. “Clearly the impact will ultimately depend on the form Brexit takes.”

With 42 days to go before Britain quits the European Union, businesses still don’t know whether the U.K. will leave with or without a deal. The prospect of a no-deal scenario -- which could add costs to imports coming from the EU and extra checks on goods at the border -- has prompted companies across industries to hoard key materials.

One-fifth of Coca-Cola European’s sales came from Great Britain last year, and more than 97 percent of that, with brands including Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite, is manufactured within the country. To make it, key raw materials like concentrate are imported from outside the U.K., Jhangiani said.

“We are proactively trying to minimize any potential impact,” he said. “There are still many unknowns though at this stage.”

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