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Coca-Cola upbeat on growth rebound

Calcutta, Dec. 22: Coca-Cola India is aiming at a double-digit growth over the next few quarters.

The US-based beverage major expects India to become its fifth largest market by 2020 from the current seventh position.

“Our aspiration is to get back on double-digit growth,” Venkatesh Kini, Coca-Cola’s deputy president, India and Southwest Asia, said here today on the sidelines of a Fifa World Cup Trophy tour in the city.

In the third quarter of 2013, Coca-Cola registered a 6 per cent volume growth from 1 per cent in the preceding quarter ended June.

“We had 29th consecutive quarters of growth. We gained volume and value share in India in the quarter in non-alcohol ready-to-drink beverages as well as in sparkling and still beverages,” Kini said.

Rural demand

The company is betting on rising demand in the rural market, besides looking to introduce new products to grow in India, Kini said. Some products are already on trial on a pilot basis, including dairy and energy-based drinks.

“The rural market is growing at a fast rate in the last few years as income is on the rise and there is more exposure to retail,” Kini said.

On the rural strategy, Kini said, “We are offering affordable price points to consumers such as the 200ml Coca-Cola glass bottle at Rs 8, the Maaza tetrafino pack at Rs 7. Innovations such as the solar cooler eKOCool are also helping to expand the rural reach.”

With a per capita consumption of 14 per year for Coca-Cola products compared with the global average of 94, the Indian market offers a huge growth opportunity, according to Kini.

The parent company is working towards achieving the 2020 vision of doubling revenues and servings this decade for which India will be a strategic growth market.

The company has lined up an investment of $5 billion for India till 2020.

While pointing out that the investment was on track, Kini declined to give the details of the total investment in 2012 and so far in 2013 of the $5 billion investment. Coca-Cola had invested $2 billion between 1993 and 2011.

In India, Coca-Cola sells carbonated and non-carbonated drinks such as Coca-Cola, Fanta, Thums Up, Sprite, Maaza, Minute Maid and Kinley.

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