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Greeces Coca Cola Hellenic to switch main listing to London

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Coca Cola Hellenic, the worlds second-largest bottler of Coca-Cola Co. soft drinks and Greeces biggest firm by market value, said on Thursday it would switch its main bourse listing to London, where it hopes to tap more liquidity from investors.

According to Reuters, Coca Cola Hellenic, which already has secondary listings in London and New York, said in a bourse filing that shareholders would exchange all their stock into shares of Coca Cola HBC AG, a Swiss-based firm.

"The purpose of the public share exchange offer ... is to facilitate the listing of Coca Cola Hellenic into the premium category of the London Stock Exchange and the introduction to the New York Stock Exchange," the filing said.

The company would delist from the Athens Stock Exchange and then seek to re-enter it in a secondary listing. Its business activities in Greece, where it runs a corporate service centre, would not be affected, it said.

Coca Cola Hellenic shares were up 2.7 percent in Athens after the news, giving the firm a market value of 6.2 billion euros ($8.00 billion), three times the value of refiner Hellenic Petroleum, Greeces second-biggest company in terms of capitalization.

The firm, which bottles Coke drinks in 28 countries including Russia and Nigeria, has consistently outperformed the general Athens index which had slumped to 20-year lows earlier this year as a result of the countrys debt crisis.

Foreign investors have been steadily reducing their investment in Greek stocks ever since the country was engulfed by a sovereign debt crisis in late 2009, leading to two EU/IMF-led bailouts and threats to downgrade the status of the local stock market.
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