Coca-Cola, partners to invest USD 2 bn in India

Coca-Cola, partners to invest USD 2 bn in India

The company, which has invested USD 2 billion since it re-entered the Indian market in 1993, said the investment is among the single largest made in a country and the biggest ever made in India.

"Coca-Cola, along with its partners, will invest USD 2 billion in India. Apart from China and the US in the past, this (USD 2 billion) is one of our single largest investments in a country," Coca-Cola Company (Eurasia and Africa Group) President Ahmet C Bozer told reporters here.

The company said most of the investments will be on enhancing infrastructure, opening new lines in the existing bottling plants and setting new greenfield facility for which it has zeroed in on Karnataka.

"When we look at the opportunity India has to offer and the fact that it is the strategic market, we believe that in order to capture this opportunity, we will need to accelerate the investment ... and it all depends on the size and scale of the business," Coca-Cola India and South-West Asia President and CEO Atul Singh said.

At present, the company has 56 plants of which 21 are franchise plants, 23 are company-owned while 12 are contract packaging plants. India contributes about 13 per cent to the overall revenue coming from Eurasia and Africa put together.

Singh, however, declined to give a break-up of how much will be invested by the company and how much by its partners, which include bottlers and other supply chain service providers. He also did not comment on how the company's bottling capacity will go up after the investment.

Commenting on the network expansion, he said: "Our footprint is expanding. We are at 1.6 million outlets. We have doubled the outlet base in the last few years. We want to again double the outlet base, we want to penetrate rural areas in India and all of them we will require investment."

Both urban and rural markets will have equal emphasis on the company's part, he said.
Last year, the company had announced that it is aiming to double its revenues globally by 2020 from USD 35.11 billion in 2010.

Asked if the company is also looking at a similar growth in India, Bozer said: "We actually have to do more than that."

He said with Eurasia and Africa already among the top markets for the company and India being the number one in the region, the country has to contribute more.

On the product pipeline, Singh said the company has "robust" pipeline of products for the Indian market and will continue to look for strategies like strengthening the distribution channels in the rural areas.

Coca-Cola has also taken a re-look at its product portfolio and has decided not to continue with "unsustainable pricing" of offering certain products for as low as Rs 5.