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    Distribution Deals

    Cadbury acquires SEABEV; Thomas Kemper Soda signs three new agreements.

    PLANO, Texas & PORTLAND, Ore. -- Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB) has acquired Southeast-Atlantic Beverage Corp. (SEABEV), a leading independent bottling and distribution company based in Jacksonville, Fla.

    SEABEV distributes much of CSAB's soft-drink and premium-beverage portfolio, as well as several licensed brands, throughout most of Florida and northern Georgia. Founded in 1939, it is the second-largest independent bottling company in the U.S., with 2006 revenues of $172 million and nearly 900 employees. The company operates two manufacturing facilities and 16 warehouses and distribution centers.

    Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

    The integration of SEABEV gives CSAB direct access to more than 20 million new consumers in Florida and northern Georgia, in addition to a new manufacturing capability in the Southeast. CSAB now has 26 manufacturing and bottling facilities in North America and more than 250 warehouse and distribution points serving more than 230 million U.S. consumers in 34 states. In addition, the company now controls the manufacture and distribution of nearly half its annual volume.

    "Bringing SEABEV into the CSAB family is an important milestone in our continuing efforts to strengthen the route to market for our brands, which is a core strategy for our business," said Gil Cassagne, president and CEO of CSAB. "Having our bottling and concentrate operations under one roof means greater alignment across our business, which allows us to respond to the changing demands of the marketplace and serve our customers more effectively than ever before."

    SEABEV is the sixth bottling and/or distribution business to be integrated into the Cadbury Schweppes Bottling Group (CSBG), a division of CSAB formed in April 2006 with the acquisition of the Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group. Other major bottler acquisitions by CSAB since last year include All-American Bottling Corp., which serves a large area of the Midwest and Mountain States; Seven-Up Bottling Co. of San Francisco, serving northern California; Hattiesburg (Miss.) Beverage Co.; and the Mississippi operations of Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Paragould Inc. The company has also taken over the distribution for various brands in its portfolio in portions of New Jersey, New York, Louisiana, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

    In other distribution news, Thomas Kemper Soda Co., a Portland, Ore.-based maker of premium craft-brewed soda, announced three significant distribution agreements, driven by the company's national expansion. Columbia Distributing Co., the largest beverage distributor in the Pacific Northwest, will add the greater Seattle area to its territory, which already includes Oregon. The company also has signed with Crescent Crown Distributing, the largest Miller Brewing Co. distributor in the Southwest, to manage distribution in Arizona. A third distributor, Seattle-based Odem Corp., will focus on Alaska, eastern Washington and Idaho.

    Thomas Kemper expects to grab a bigger share of the national market in the coming months. "Our first order of business after acquiring the company was to align ourselves with the best distribution partners to position the brand for national expansion," said Bill Germano, president and CEO. "With the best partners in place in the West, we're taking great care of our hometown market, while setting the stage for the next level of growth."

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