Coke to invest about $5 bn in India

Source: Financial Express, Jun 26, 2012

New Delhi: Betting big on India, beverages giant Coca-Cola today said it, along with partners, would more than double investments in the country to USD 5 billion (about Rs 28,000 crore) by 2020.

The fresh investment, which is higher by USD 3 billion from the previous announcement made in November 2011 for a period of five years, will be on various activities, including setting up of new bottling plants.

“While we have always believed in the Indian growth story, India is now a key focus market for our company and system,” Coca-Cola Co Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent told reporters here.

Announcing future plans for the country, he said: “We plan to invest USD 5 billion dollars in the India business between now and 2020. This represents an increase of USD 3 billion beyond what we had previously committed to investing in this market”.

The investments would be made on increasing bottling lines, adding new bottling plants, enhancing back-end chain infrastructure as well as marketing by the company, he said without disclosing details.

In line with its plan to double revenue globally by 2020, Coca Cola had announced in November last year that the company along with its partners would invest USD 2 billion in India over the next five years to enhance its business operations, including setting up a new plant in the country.

At present, the company has 56 plants in India of which 21 are franchise plants, 23 are company-owned and 12 contract packaging plants.

Expressing satisfaction over the growth of its Indian business in the recent past, he said: “Our India story is one of a remarkable turnaround. Six years ago we were not strong here at all. Today our India business aspires to be among the top five countries by volume in the entire Coca Cola system”.

At present the country is in the seventh spot, which he said has improved from around ’16 or 17 in 2005-06′.

“We have been examining our growth projections and goals for the India business…we are absolutely confident this (investment) is the right decision given the vast opportunities in India,” Kent added.

Coca Cola sells a variety of both carbonated and non-carbonated drinks in India, including Coca Cola, Thums Up, Sprite, Maaza and Minute Maid.

Kent further said the investments in India is part of the USD 30 billion plans announced by the company to meet its Vision 2020 target of doubling the size of the company’s business to USD 200 billion by 2020.

“In 2009, our system revenues were USD 90 billion. Last year, they were USD 105 billion. Today I believe our 2020 vision is as clear, solid and sound as it was when it was conceived”.

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