The fascinating transformation of Coca-Cola Amatil
From tobacco origins to the bottler and distributor it is today
No matter where you are in the world, you most likely would have heard about Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is probably the largest producer in the world of soft drinks, but in Australia and New-Zealand the company goes by another name. Coca-Cola Amatil or CCL as it is known on the Australian stock exchange.
Who is CCL?
CCL is a local Australian bottler, with a very interesting history. Being in operation for the last 100 years.
CCL started as British Tobacco Company Limited in 1904 and began to diversify through the purchase of a printing company in 1909. Due to their strong printing capabilities, they moved into the next “natural” progression for a printing company, which is the manufacture of packaging products. The new business focus was completed by 1965.
It was during the second world war that Australians became familiar with the household brand called Coca-Cola, and through the purchase of Coca-Cola Bottlers (Pty) Ltd, the face and path of British Tobacco Company changed forever.
It was not until 1977 that British Tobacco Company changed their name to Allied Manufacturing and Trade Industries Limited or AMATIL for short. Amatil continued to acquire specifically Coca-Cola franchises across the pacific and recognized this as their core business. Subsequently setting aside their other ventures, including the Tobacco. It was after recognizing that Coca-Cola became a major shareholder in Amatil, and the name was changed to Coca-Cola Amatil.
It was not, however, until 2004 and a series of acquisitions that Coca-Cola Amatil became the sole licensee of Coca-Cola products in Australia (With a network in New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and more).
Today, CCL is one of the Asia-Pacific’s largest bottlers, and one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola products.
How do they earn their money?
In 2019, CCL serviced more than 630 000 customers across six geographical locations. The locations include Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Somoa. Coca-Cola’s products include (as can be seen in the picture above) non-alcoholic products, alcoholic products, and hot beverages.
The containers are manufactured by CCL and the content produced. It is then bottled, packed, and sold to the customers, who will sell the products on to the final consumers (you and me).
One would think that with a strong brand like Coca-Cola, no further innovation is necessary. However, significant strides have been made to reduce the sugar content in most of the products, while launching Coke Zero in territories like Indonesia and the Amatil X platform, where new emerging possibilities are identified and pursued.
Coca-Cola Amatil continues to pursue strategic partnerships with international brands, that will assist in future revenue growth. Their partnership and best-in-class marketing with Coca-Cola has paid dividends many times over, and due to the small number of own brands, international brands see the benefit of joining the distribution network already in place through Coca-Cola Amatil.
The provision of branded fridges and vending machines provides Coca-Cola Amatil with significant shelf space in all the markets that they operate in.
Australia is the largest portion of the business, accounting for roughly 58% of the turnover, New Zealand and Fiji account for 19%, Indonesia and Papa New Guinea accounts for 15%, and Alcohol and Coffee account for 9%.
Risks to be aware of
As with any business, the beverage industry is not immune to what is happening, and there are many factors that could have a material or adverse impact on the business. In the case of Coca-Cola Amatil, the following risks should be kept in mind:
- COVID impacted most industries. Especially entertainment, tourism and hospitality. These are all factors that not only play a significant role within the geographical economies but also on the final consumers of Coca-Cola Amatil. We could therefore expect turnover to be down for the 2020 financial year.
- Competitors, although not a major risk at this point for Coca-Cola Amatil, as their market share is very dominant. Competitors are always a risk and we do need to understand how their competitors are doing.
- Brand partner relationships. Since Coca-Cola Amatil distributes not only their own brands but also the brands of partners, it forms a vital part of their business. Should they lose a partnership, it could have a major impact on the business. Luckily, with the CCL distribution network currently in place, we do not foresee major partnership agreements deteriorating anytime soon.
- The global economy is currently stagnant. With more people also becoming health conscious. As the largest seller (Normal coke) still contains sugar, there could be a decline in volumes in the medium to long-term future of these product lines.