Unilever and PepsiCo to expand ready-to-drink tea joint venture

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. Unilever and PepsiCo today announced their agreement to expand their international partnership regarding the marketing and distribution of the Lipton ready-to-drink tea products.

The agreement, which builds on the 1991 Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership North American joint venture, adds 11 countries to the partnership’s existing ready-to-drink tea business: Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Portugal, Korea, Taiwan and South Africa. Leveraging the complementary strengths of Unilver’s Lipton brand tea know-how with Pepsi’s bottling and distribution network, the agreement will double the companies’ current joint venture and positions them growth opportunities in the rapidly expanding global market for ready-to-drink tea.

“This agreement gives us the opportunity to build on the tremendous success of the joint ventures to date. It provides an excellent opportunity to realize the long-term potential of the Lipton ready-to-drink brand, and Pepsi’s expertise in the drinks sector will help us drive innovations faster and more competitively,” stated Vindi Banga, Unilever’s president for Foods.

The companies, which will continue to own 50 percent of the joint venture, are awaiting approvals from relevant regulatory authorities, employee consultation and, for Portugal and South Africa, agreement with Unilever’s existing partners regarding the agreement. The transaction is expected to take effect in January 2008.