Beverages giant Coca-Cola Co. (KO: Quote) on Tuesday announced a $3 billion (about 165 billion Indian Rupees) investment in India through 2020, underlining its focus on the BRIC nation as a long-term strategic growth market. This is in addition to an already-announced $2 billion investment earmarked for India's fast-growing nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverage market.
Coca-Cola expects the $5 billion outlay to help it capture growth in the South Asian country, which is now grappling with economic slowdown, weak currency and trouble within its ruling coalition.
The cola maker sees enormous growth potential for nonalcoholic ready-to-drink beverages in India. Its Indian unit has registered unit case volume growth for the past 23 quarters, of which 17 have seen double-digit growth.
Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent said, "Achieving continued sustainable, responsible growth in India is core to achieving our 2020 Vision of doubling system revenues in this decade. 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."
Since its re-entry to India in 1993, the company has already invested more than $2 billion. The company noted that the Coca-Cola India system now directly employs more than 25,000 people and is estimated to have created indirect employment for more than 150,000 people in related industries.
Atul Singh, President and CEO, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said, "India is a strategic growth market for The Coca-Cola Company, ranking among our top 10 markets in volume globally and as the largest market in the Eurasia and Africa Group. Our India business has been growing at a robust rate over the last five years, and our goal is to continue this momentum."
Coca-Cola and its bottling partners are investing more than $30 billion worldwide in new manufacturing facilities, distribution systems and marketing investments in emerging economies over the next five years to support anticipated growth.
Last year, Coca-Cola announced a planned investment of $3 billion in Russia and $4 billion in China - two other BRIC nations.
Coca-Cola shares closed Monday's regular trading session at $74.77, down $0.17 or 0.23 percent. In the extended trading, shares lost $0.19 or 0.26 percent further and closed at $74.58.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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