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News 29 Nov 17

Coca-Cola to Acquire Banja Luka Drinks Company

As Coca-Cola announces plans to buy Banja Luka beverages company MB Impex, the Bosnian authorities are checking the likely impact on the local alcoholic drinks market.

Danijel Kovacevic
BIRN
Banja Luka
Illustration. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Coca_Cola FEMSA

Global drinks giant Coca-Cola is planning to buy MB Impex, a beverage producer from the Banja Luka, capital of the mainly Serbian entity in Bosnia, Republika Srpska.

Bosnia's Council for Competition on Tuesday said it had received notification from Coca-Cola's Serbian subsidiary, HBC-Serbia, on July 14, in which it outlined the plan to acquire MB Impex.

The Council must now review the merger for its likely impact on the Bosnian alcohol market.

"For this reason, we are inviting all interested businesses active in the alcoholic beverage market and in other markets [that merger may affect] ... to submit ... opinions," it stated.

The purchase would be conducted through Coca-Cola HBC-Serbia.

Impex was founded in 1996 in Banja Luka and produces alcoholic beverages using fruits, honey and medicinal herbs.

According to the Economic Register of Republika Srpska, it employs 39 staff and exports to 13 countries. It also owns orchards and production areas and has an annual output of about 500,000 litres.

“This acquisition shows that, despite everything in this country, you can still run a successful business. Unfortunately, this is only an isolated phenomenon, not a rule or a hint of a trend towards increasing foreign investment," Banja Luka-based economist Predrag Dudukovic told BIRN.

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