Kofola’s founders to raise stake as private equity investor seeks exit: Reuters

The founders and majority owners of Kofola CeskoSlovensko are to raise their stake in the Czech soft drinks maker to 68 percent in a series of transactions that will result in a long-term private equity investor selling out.

Kofola announced on Thursday that 50.8 percent shareholder KSM Investment, controlled by the Samaras family which revived the communist-era brand in the 1990s, would combine its stake with that of shareholders Rene Musila and Tomas Jendrejek in a new company called AETOS.

The newly established company will hold 56 percent but will raise that to 68 percent next month by buying shares from second-biggest shareholder CED Group at 440 crowns per share, for a total price of 1.18 billion crowns ($50.38 million).

Kofola’s shares closed at 406.60 crowns on Thursday.

CED, a unit of private equity firm Enterprise Investors, currently holds 37.3 percent.

At the same time, a Kofola subsidiary will launch a tender offer by the end of June for up to 5 percent of Kofola shares, also at 440 crowns a share.

AETOS and CED have also agreed to work on a potential share offering or placement next year of CED’s remaining shares, amounting to around 25 percent of Kofola, and up to a 3 percent stake held by AETOS. The potential offering of CED’s shares would end the Warsaw-based Enterprise Investors’ decade-long involvement in Kofola.

At the end of 2015 Enterprise Investors sold a 6 percent stake in Kofola through a public share offering in Prague for 23 million euros.
Kofola said in a statement it would also put in place a dividend policy of paying at least 60 percent of consolidated net profits until 2020.

Kofola was revived in the Czech Republic in 1996 by Greek native Kostas Samaras and has since expanded throughout central and eastern Europe, booking 7 billion crowns ($300 million) in revenues in 2016 and earning 342 million crowns in net profit.

It is the second biggest soft drinks maker in the Czech Republic, competing with the likes of Coca Cola, and leads the Slovak and Slovenian markets.