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Coca-Cola Hellenic leaves Greece

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Coca-Cola Hellenic leaves Greece

Coca-Cola Hellenic leaves Greece
October 19
13:48 2012

Coca-Cola Hellenic is pulling out of Greece and seeking sanctuary by listing on the London stock exchange.

The €5.7bn (£4.6bn) bottling company, which bottles Coke in 28 countries from Russia to Nigeria, said it would move its headquarters to Switzerland and hopes to list its shares on the FTSE 100 in London.

Coca-Cola Hellenic, which makes up a fifth of the Athens stock market, said it was ditching Greece after credit rating agencies downgraded the company’s rating following the country’s downgrade deeper into “junk” status.

The firm, which is 23%-owned by Coca-Cola, hopes switching to London will rid it of the “Greek discount”, which has depressed the shares because many international investors are afraid of putting money into the debt-ridden country.

Dimitris Lois, the chief executive, said listing in London would “give us greater recognition among international investors, will increase the liquidity of our stock and improve our access to the international equity and debt markets.”

Lois said leaving Greece made “clear business sense” because 95% of the company’s operations and nearly all its investors were outside the country, with 16% of sales coming from Russia, 15% in Italy and 9% in Nigeria.

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