PAI Partners tables new €1.6-bn bid for Dutch bottler Refresco

European private equity firm PAI Partners, yesterday tabled a new €1.6-billion ($1.9 billion) cash bid for Refresco, just six months after the Dutch juice bottling company rejected its €1.4-billion buyout offer.

PAI Partners' has now offered to pay €19.75 a share. Refresco shares had closed at €17.34 on Monday, but rose by more than 8 per cent, closing yesterday at €18.81.

PAI Partners' unsolicited, indicative and conditional offer includes buying Refresco's latest proposed acquisition of Canada's Cott Corp's bottling activities, which is expected to close before the year-end.

Apart from the €1.6-billion offer, PAI Partners' will also have to absorb the €2 billion in leveraged loans that Refresco had taken to finance the Cott acquisition.

Refresco said that it is reviewing the proposal, taking into account the interests of all Refresco's stakeholders.

Founded in 1999, Netherlands-based Refresco is Europe's biggest bottler of soft drinks and fruit juices. It has production sites in the Benelux, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, the UK and the US.

It generated revenues of €2.1 billion last year, on volumes of 6.5 billion litres and employs around 5,500 people.

The company offers an extensive range of product and packaging combinations from fruit juices to carbonated soft drinks and mineral waters in carton, PET, Aseptic PET, cans and glass.

The company has grown through acquisitions and expanded into the US last year by acquiring  bottler Whitlock Packaging  for $129 million.