Brooklyn Bottling to Purchase Iberia Foods

BROOKLYN, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 21, 2002–As part of an aggressive expansion strategy, the Brooklyn Bottling Group (BBG), has signed a definitive agreement with Unilever to buy Unilever’s Iberia Foods Corporation, a leading distributor of food brands and household products targeting the Hispanic-American market. Unilever’s sale of Iberia Foods, a company with net annual sales of $43 million, reinforces BBG’s leadership position in the beverage, food and packaged goods arenas.

BBG is a vertically integrated food and beverage company, which has benefited from the entrepreneurial vision and aggressive expansion tactics of Eric S. Miller, third generation family member to run the company and the grandson of the founder. Established in 1937, BBG has manufacturing, warehousing, sales, marketing and distribution capabilities and has experienced dynamic growth since 1990 when strategic decisions were made to acquire an additional plant and property in Brooklyn from Coke NY. Through impressive internal sales growth and by acquiring the rights to develop leading international brands, BBG has become a major player in soft drinks, juices and international foods with a particular and unique strength in serving Latin and Caribbean expatriate communities here in the U.S.

The pending acquisition of Iberia Foods from Unilever represents another well-calculated step in that game plan. Through the BBG World Foods division, which imports and exclusively distributes category leaders from the Caribbean and Latin America, BBG will increase sales to their current customer base by offering a wider range of products of the newly merged Iberia World Foods Corporation. In addition, complementary geographical strengths will come into play. BBG’s historical strength in the northeast will benefit Iberia brands, while Iberia’s anchor in the southeast will help BBG increase their current business there. Iberia World Foods products will also be distributed by BBG’s subsidiary company, North Shore Bottling Corporation, which services 12,000 “mom & pop” and independent retail outlets throughout the northeast. This represents a new niche opportunity and added market coverage for Iberia brands.

“The acquisition of Iberia Foods is a well timed deal for us and further accelerates the growth rate we have been generating,” said Eric Miller, President of the Brooklyn Bottling Group. “The Iberia product portfolio complements our existing holdings perfectly, and gives us added strength in the Southeast that frankly would have taken us some time to access. We will take these new brands and build them up in order to fill the needs of both local, Hispanic-American, and Caribbean populations,” Miller concluded.

The major brands currently sold by Iberia include; Iberia branded products, Knorr, Maizena, Mistolin, Quaker Spanish Brands, Fruta Viva, Choco Listo, and Corona Colombian Chocolates. BBG owns and distributes beverage brands including Nature’s Own 100% fresh pressed juices, Squeez’r juices and teas, Apple Dandy 100 % apple juice, Tropical Fantasy sodas, cocktails and teas. Other leading beverage brands imported and distributed by BBG include D&G Jamaican sodas, Postobon sodas and juices from Colombia, Malta Leona from Colombia, County Club Sodas of the Dominican Republic and Cola Lacaye Haitian Soda. In the food category, BBG is an exclusive importer/distributor for Grace Foods, the leading Jamaican food company, and Jamaican leaders such as Excelsior crackers, Lasco Health Food, Chippy’s Snacks, and Noel, a leading cracker and cookie company from Colombia. From the Dominican Republic BBG imports/distributes Hatuey Guarina, the leading cracker and cookie company. After the acquisition closes, the Brooklyn Bottling Group will serve over 15,000 customers with the combined brand assets of its companies.

CONTACT: The Baddish Group, New York
Laura Baddish, 212/221-7611 ext. 304