Swire Coca-Cola Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-listed Swire Pacific Ltd, is expanding its business in Southeast Asia by acquiring Coca-Cola’s bottling business in Cambodia and Vietnam.

The acquisition is Swire Coca-Cola’s first investments in the region which will give the company a leading position in one of the world’s fastest growing beverage markets.

Following the completion of the acquisition, Swire Coca-Cola will own and operate Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam Ltd, which has three bottling facilities in Vietnam, and Cambodia Beverage Company Ltd (CBC), which has one bottling facility in Cambodia.

Swire Coca-Cola’s franchise population will expand by 15 per cent to 876 million people.

In a statement on July 18, Swire Coca-Cola chairman Patrick Healy said the acquisition marks a major milestone for the company as it will significantly expand the group’s operating footprint and customer base.

“We have been investing in building a world-class bottling system over the past 57 years. This [acquisition] is part of a broader strategy to expand the scale, volume and revenue of our bottling business,” said Healy.

Swire Coca-Cola managing director Karen So noted that being a long-term strategic partner with Coca-Cola, they are delighted to grow the relationship.

The company is also thrilled by the growth potential rendered by the non-alcoholic beverage markets in Cambodia and Vietnam, valued at more than $6 billion and is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over six per cent until 2036, she said.

“With our successful refranchising experience in the US and mainland China between 2014 and 2017, I am confident that our continuous commitment to excellence will help capture the opportunities that these dynamic markets will bring. We look forward to the next exciting chapter in our history as we make our first foray into Southeast Asia,” said So.

Meanwhile, Vicky Tse, corporate communications manager of Swire Coca-Cola and David Wigglesworth, CEO of Coca-Cola Cambodia did not respond to questions.

In 2016, Coca-Cola opened its $100 million plant in Phnom Penh to meet an increasing demand for the Coke beverage in the Kingdom and ASEAN.

The plant is located on a 12.5ha plot in the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone southwest of the airport and is able to produce Coke in 54,000 plastic recycle bottles and 60,000 cans in an hour.