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Kofola becomes owner of apple orchards in the Czech Republic and co-owner of coffee plantations in Colombia

20. 10. 2023

After being heavily involved in growing and processing herbs, family-owned beverage company Kofola has decided to expand its scope to include other beverage ingredients. It will cultivate an apple orchard on nearly 60 hectares in the Úsovsko region, with the aim of growing a special variety of apples needed for cider production in the Czech Republic. In Colombia, Kofola is moving towards co-ownership of 230 hectares of coffee plantations.

"From the point of view of beverage quality, raw materials are always key. Therefore, we have a long-term focus not only on the protection of water resources, but also on the quality of other raw materials. We are interested not only in the origin, but also in the story from seed to product," explains Jannis Samaras, one of the founders and CEO of the Kofola Group.

Kofola's herbal expertise, or experience in growing and processing herbs, was acquired years ago with the purchase of LEROS, a traditional producer of herbal teas. "But to fulfil our long-term vision, we need to understand other agricultural areas. We have therefore decided to enter into two strategic partnerships," Samaras adds.

Representatives of Kofola signed a preliminary purchase agreement with ÚSOVSKO a.s. As such, by the beginning of 2024 at the latest, Kofola ČeskoSlovensko a.s. will become the owner of 57 hectares of land at the very end of the fertile Haná region at the foot of the Low Jeseník Mountains. In addition, the company run by the Samaras family, will gain ten employees and the potential for dozens more seasonal temporary workers. The so-called Prager's Libina orchards will be developed by Kofola about 40 km from the Ondrášovka production plant, which also belongs to the Kofola Group.

"The annual yield of the orchards is close to 1,000 tonnes of apples. We are already using some of these apples to produce fresh UGO juices. Our aim is to expand the orchard's production to include special bitter-sweet and bitter-sour varieties whose juice is key to the production of quality F.H. Prager ciders.  We now import it from England or France. Considering how proficient growers we have always had in the Czech Republic, I believe we will be able to secure this locally as well," concludes Tomáš Jendřejek, another of Kofola's founders, who will be in charge of its entire agricultural division.

The second strategic step of the Kofola Group is the intention to acquire a 25% stake in a Colombian company that grows coffee on 230 hectares of plantations and sells it on the local and international market. "Our strategic partner in Colombia is the Londoño family, which has been in the coffee business for more than 100 years and is a great source of inspiration and experience for us. I am delighted that it is with them that we can meaningfully advance the coffee business and develop our first investment outside of Europe," says Martin Pisklák, Kofola Group CFO.

Kofola's representatives expect the completion of both acquisitions, whose total value is in the tens of millions of crowns, by January 2024 at the latest. "Financially, these are not nearly as big acquisitions as those we have made in the past. But integrating agriculture into our business is key so that we can work with growers to find a sustainable business model and added value in their quality raw material for the end consumer," concludes Jannis Samaras.