Coca-Cola and illy team up on RTD coffee

ATLANTA The Coca-Cola Company and illycaffe SpA announced today that they will be signing a global joint venture agreement focused on the premium ready-to-drink coffee segment.

Using illy’s expertise in the art of the espresso, Coca-Cola said, will expand the company’s beverage category with new brands and products.

“illy is a proven leader with an uncompromising commitment to high-quality espresso coffee and a strong history of innovation with whom we are proud to partner,” said Muhtar Kent, president and chief operating officer of the Coca-Cola Company. “We will be able to bring our brand building and distribution expertise together with illy’s premium brand reputation. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to meeting evolving consumer demands while creating additional value for our system, our customers and our shareowners.”

According to the companies, he RTD coffee category globally is valued at just under $10 billion and has experienced several years of growth that is expected to continue. Globally (excluding Japan), the RTD coffee category has grown at an average rate of 10.1% over the past five years.

While the specifics on brands and distribution have not yet been finalized, both parties expect the final joint venture agreements to be signed by the end of 2007.

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