Committed to becoming Europe’s number one manufacturer of soft drinks and juices, Refresco is a decentralised organisation with fully integrated regional business units in the Benelux countries, Germany, France, Spain, Finland and the UK.

All of these operations have a high level of independence and responsibility, with a small central management team initiating and co-ordinating the strategy of the Group.

Netherlands-based Refresco employs 2,400 staff across its 21 production sites in Europe, including the UK, and has a turnover of around €1.14 billion. The group has grown through both the organic and acquisition routes, and is constantly looking for further geographical spread in order to better serve its pan-European customers. In late 2010, for instance, Refresco acquired the Italian drinks company Spumador.

The deal, which was for an undisclosed sum, is Refresco’s second acquisition within a year following the purchase of German drinks company Soft Drinks International in September 2010.

Hans Roelofs, CEO of Refresco, commented: “This is our first step into the growing Italian private label market. This acquisition fits well into our buy-and-build strategy and is another step towards the consolidation of the fragmented European market for private label soft drinks and fruit juices.”

Spumador is a producer of private label carbonated soft drinks and mineral water, as well as producing drinks under its own trademarks including San Antonio and Valverde. The Italian company is owned by private equity firm Trilantic Capital Partners, and has five production sites in Northern Italy. In 2009, Spumador declared a turnover of €170 million (£144 million) and currently has around 400 employees.

Roberto Rossi, CEO of Spumador, added: ‘The management sees this process of joining a larger international group as a good chance for top-line growth by sharing knowledge and product portfolios.’

In the UK, Refresco has its base in Durham, and from here it focuses on servicing retailers with private label products and co-manufacturing for A-brand customers.

The UK-facility operates out of a modern plant that enjoyed a total refurbishment in the spring of 2010, incorporating the installation of new, state-of-the-art production facilities in a former storage area at Refresco’s Belmont Estate site. The 10,000sqm facility has been transformed in line with exacting, food hygiene standards and includes the installation of the company’s first aseptic, PET production line in the UK. It will give Refresco a boost in production capacity at the plant of up to 10%.

This was a complex job with strict environmental and health and safety issues to contend with. The factory runs 24 hours a day, six or seven days a week and production had to be maintained throughout the refurbishment work, which involved the removal of dividing walls, conversion of offices, laboratory and conference facilities, the upgrading of wall cladding panels to food industry standard and, most importantly, the installation of a new floor drainage channel systems and hygienic floor coatings. Refresco’s impressive and ongoing success, both in the UK and overseas, can be put down to quality, reliability, and cost leadership, with the group differentiating itself from competition by offering a comprehensive portfolio of products, a wide geographic spread, unrivalled speed to market, a commitment to innovation, and the overall scale of the operation.

The individual companies of the Refresco Group produce a broad portfolio of top quality drinks, including fruit and vegetable juices; carbonated soft drinks; nectars, fruit drinks and fruit lemonades; mineral water; iced tea; and energy drinks and sports drinks. Moreover, the Group’s research and development capabilities allow it to provide an almost unlimited variety of tailor made specials, produced to exact customer specifications and requirements. And this quality ethos can always be seen in the filling processes, where Refresco has invested in the newest technologies, would state-of-the-art aseptic PET fill technology being an excellent case in point.

Refresco is also renowned for its approach to the environment, with Refresco France, for example, proud to have been awarded Supplier of the Year in the category ‘Consumer Products’ of the Carrefour Sustainable Development Awards 2010.

The Group’s production site Délifruits in St. Donat has put in place a valid approach towards the understanding of eco-system. The facility uses 50% recycled plastic (RPET) and, since 2007, the Refresco has been working on reducing packaging material. These efforts have brought Refresco France the price ‘ECOTOP’ of

Eco-Emballages in 2009. Since June 2009, the production site in St. Donat has also begun a pilot of a European programme for the treatment of effluents by utilising bamboo plants that clean the water in a natural manner.

All of Refresco’s production sites have been certified according to the International Food Standard (IFS) or, in the UK, to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) protocol to ensure food safety. All production sites are certified according to ISA 14001 or comparable standards.



Related Posts