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    Coca-Cola, Nestle End Nestea Joint Venture

    Coke is expected to introduce a new line of Fuze cold-fill teas and juice drinks to fill the void.

    ATLANTA and VEVEY, Switzerland -- The Coca-Cola Co. and Nestlé S.A. will end their Beverage Partners Worldwide (BPW) partnership in the United States and a host of other countries at the end of 2012, the companies announced in a joint statement. Also to be terminated at the end of this year is the Nestea license that Nestlé grants to Coca-Cola in the United States.

    The BPW partnership, a 50-50 joint venture focused on the ready-to-drink tea category, will only exist in Europe and Canada after 2012, the companies said. The partnership was created in 2001. Prior to that, Coca-Cola and Nestlé cooperated in a joint venture called Coca-Cola and Nestlé Refreshments.

    "Over the past 10 years, BPW has delivered consistent growth to its parent companies and has expanded the Nestea brand across Europe, Canada and other markets," the companies said in the statement. "Both partners believe a concentrated focus on Europe and Canada will accelerate growth and bolster the market presence of BPW where the joint venture is most effective. Both parent companies will be free to independently explore and maximize opportunities for growth in the ready-to-drink tea category in other markets."

    According to Beverage Digest, U.S. Nestea volume totaled about 78.1 million cases in 2010 vs. PepsiCo's Lipton Tea division, which reached a volume of about 247 million cases.

    The news outlet said Coke is expected to introduce a new line of Fuze cold-fill teas, as well as Fuze juice drinks, to replace the Nestea products once the partnership expires.

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