Cadbury Schweppes PLC said it intends to sell its European beverages arm, which makes brands such as Schweppes tonic water, Oasis and Orangina, to focus on other higher growth areas of its business and pay down some of its 4.3 billion pound ($7.9 billion) debt.
“Europe Beverages has a great portfolio of brands, a talented management team and strong routes to market... However, the potential for growth and value creation is greater in the group's other operations,” chief executive Todd Stitzer said in a statement.
The division last year generated underlying operating profit of 116 million pounds ($213 million) on sales of 653 million pounds ($1.2 billion), representing 10% and 11% of the group's revenue. With sales volumes of 1.7 billion liters, it is the third largest supplier of soft drinks within Europe and employs around 3,000 people.
Cadbury is to retain its North American beverages arm, owner of the Dr Pepper, 7-Up, Mott's and Snapple brands.