| Muhtar Kent in New Delhi on Tuesday. (AP)
New Delhi, June 26: Coca-Cola India will invest $5 billion by 2020, against the $3 billion it had initially pledged in November 2011 for a five-year period.
“Achieving continued sustainable, responsible growth in India is core to achieving our 2020 vision of doubling system revenues in this decade,” said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Company, the parent of Coca-Cola India.
“Our ongoing investment in India is focused on delivering innovation, partnerships and a portfolio that enhances the consumer experience, ensures product affordability and builds brand loyalty to deliver long-term growth,” Kent said.
The investment will fund bottling lines, new bottling plants, back-end chain infrastructure as well as marketing programmes.
According to the company, non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages — Coca-Cola’s domain — have enormous growth potential in the country.
Coca-Cola India has registered a unit case volume growth for the past 23 quarters, 17 of which have seen double-digit growth. Two of the company’s core brands — Thums Up and Sprite — are India’s top selling soft drink brands. In the still beverage category, Coca-Cola’s Maaza (mango-based beverage) is India’s largest selling juice drink.
“We have robust investment plans as we have examined our business here. Why are we increasing it? Because we are absolutely confident this is the right decision considering the vast opportunities in India,” said Kent.
According to company executives, Coca-Cola’s bottling partners have ambitious plans to invest in innovation, expand the distribution network and augment manufacturing capacity.
Today’s announcement brings the total investment to $7 billion since its re-entry into India.
Coca-Cola India directly employs more than 25,000 people and is estimated to have created indirect employment for more than 150,000 people in related industries through its procurement, supply chain and distribution system.
At present, the company has 56 plants of which 21 are franchisee plants, 23 company-owned and 12 contract packaging plants.
Atul Singh, president and CEO, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, “India is a strategic growth market for Coca-Cola, ranking among our top 10 markets in volume globally.”