This piece from the Toronto, Canada daily the Globe and Mail paints an optimistic picture for the mega Private Brand soda manufacturer Cott Beverage. With the recent news that Costco would delist Coke it seems like a promising time for Private Brand soft drinks.
Can Cott put the pop back in its sales?
Cott aims to add 20 million new cases of business in the next 12 to 15 months. Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail
A turnaround has relied on cost cuts and debt reduction. Now the company sets its sights on selling more pop
Soft drink maker Cott Corp. is one of this year’s top turnaround stories, with a cleaned-up balance sheet, a profitable bottom line and shares that have jumped 600 per cent. With the company’s see-saw record, however, it’s too soon to declare long-term success.
Cott bills itself as “the world’s largest retailer brand soft drink company,” which means it makes the no-name carbonated beverages sold in stores at lower prices than megabrands like Pepsi and Coke.
Simple enough. Cott, however, has a history of aspiring to be more – then screwing things up, burning its investors in the process. After a red-hot first year as a public company in the early 1990s, the stock collapsed amidst allegations about its accounting and a multimillion-dollar restructuring. More recently, an effort to push branded beverages, coupled with executive suite chaos, more losses and liquidity concerns, wiped out 97 per cent of the share value from 2005 to early 2009.
“Every time the company tries to be more than it is – a solid manufacturer for third parties – it gets itself into trouble,” said David Hartley, an analyst at BMO Nesbitt Burns.