Suntory Buys Pepsi Cola Bottling Unit in South Carolina

Part of the Japanese company's global expansion plans

Japanese beverage maker Suntory said on Dec. 4 it had bought a Pepsi bottler in South Carolina as part of its global expansion efforts.

Privately owned Suntory said its U.S.-based joint venture subsidiary Pepsi Bottling Venture will pay 10 billion yen (US$113 million) to buy the assets of Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Conway-Myrtle Beach, Inc.

"We believe the purchase will create synergy effects and benefit our North American operations," said a Suntory spokesman. "This is part of our long history of expansion efforts in foreign markets."

Japan's economic woes and shrinking population have pushed many companies to look to overseas for growth, including beverage producers.

Suntory is also exploring a merger with its Japanese rival Kirin Holdings that would create one of the world's largest beverage makers.

Suntory has purchased European firms in recent years, including Orangina Schweppes, French winery Chateau Lagrange and Scottish whisky distiller Morrison Bowmore.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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