Coke to be beer baron again
IN 300 days the world will change for Coca-Cola Amatil and its chief executive, Terry Davis.
On December 17, the chains that have kept the fizzy drink maker out of the lucrative brewing industry for two years will be severed and Amatil can return to the sector it has been excluded from since selling its half-share in a beer business to global player SABMiller.
The preparations for that day are already in full swing. Coca-Cola Amatil's announcement on Tuesday of an extension of its Project Zero cost initiative to $90 million in savings over the next three years can be viewed as part of its plan to flex its productivity muscle in the lead-up to its brewing reboot.
Although beer volumes in Australia are at their lowest since World War II, the category continues to generate strong returns for brewers selling premium or craft beers.
It's these types of beers that Coca-Cola Amatil and Mr Davis cut their teeth on with SABMiller, selling a portfolio of niche beer brands including Peroni and Miller Chill.
Coca-Cola Amatil continues to invest in its beer capabilities - mainly the retention of key brewing staff - despite being nearly a year away from re-entering the market, but it will be worth it if Mr Davis can announce on December 17 a slew of licensing and distribution deals with overseas and local beers.
CCA is in talks with foreign beer companies to line up some deals, with unattached US and Belgian labels the most likely partners.