Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Coca-Cola to Delay IPO of Africa Bottler on Market Turmoil

Plastic bottles of Coke soda move along the automated production line at the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co. SA plant in Brovary, Ukraine, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Heineken NV, Coca-Cola HBC AG and Castel Group are among companies bidding for a majority stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, according to people familiar with the matter. Photographer: Vincent Mundy/Bloomberg

Coca-Cola Co. delayed the planned initial public offering of part of its stake in an African bottler of its products, saying a rescheduled listing would depend on improved market conditions.

The Atlanta-based soft-drink giant is the latest company to pull back on a sizeable listing as market sentiment continues to worsen. The company set the IPO plan for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa in April 2021, part of its effort to focus resources on brand building and innovation, but is now eyeing an IPO in 2023, according to a statement Tuesday.

Global IPOs have slowed dramatically this year as market volatility fueled by the war in Ukraine, rising interest rates, a darkening economic growth outlook and roaring inflation all weigh on risk appetite.

Several sizable listings have been delayed in recent weeks, with London law firm Mishcon de Reya and FWD Group Holdings, an Asian insurer backed by billionaire Richard Li, among those throwing in the towel. In January, file-sharing company WeTransfer scrapped an IPO in Amsterdam, where Coca-Cola had been planning to list the African unit.

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The drinks company’s shares were down 2.3% in New York trading at 10:30 a.m.

Coca-Cola holds a majority stake in CCBA, having paid $3.15 billion in 2016 to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev out of the African bottling joint venture following the latter’s acquisition of SABMiller.

(Updates with IPO market reversal in second paragraph)
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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