Coke boosts Indian investment

28 June 2012

NEW DELHI: Coca-Cola, the soft drinks giant, will more than double its investment in India over the period to 2020, as it seeks to "stay ahead of the curve" in the country.

The company has announced its intention to direct an additional $3bn to India from now until 2020, augmenting the $2bn that had already been allocated to the fast-growth economy during this timeframe.

"We have increased the investment here because we think, there's potential here to stay ahead of the curve," Muhtar Kent, chief executive and chairman of Coca-Cola, the BBC reported.

"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."

Per capita consumption of eight-ounce servings of Coca-Cola's drinks stood at 728 units in Mexico last year, compared with 403 in the US, 247 in South Africa and 230 in Brazil. The global norm stands at 90.

In contrast, this figure reached just 12 in India, lagging behind the total of 28 in China and 73 in Russia, other emerging markets attracting heightened attention as key growth centres.

By the end of the decade, Coca-Cola will have spent $7bn in India since re-entering the country in 1993. It has recorded growth for the past 23 successive quarters.

The organisation's eponymous brand also saw sales rise by 27% in the first quarter of this year, while the firm's Maaza line is the third largest juice drink in India.

It is estimated that the carbonated soft drinks sector in India is now worth $1.1bn per year. Coca-Cola took 60% of value sales in 2011, versus the 37% accrued by PepsiCo's brands, Euromonitor reported.

Thums Up and Sprite, manufactured by Coca-Cola, took a 16.5% share apiece, beating Pepsi Cola on 15%, and the 8.8% held by brand Coke.

Atul Singh, president and CEO of Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, said: "India is a strategic growth market for The Coca-Cola Company, ranking among our top ten markets in volume worldwide and as the largest market in the Eurasia and Africa Group.

"The country's demographics, economic and social parameters are all huge drivers of growth and we have to ensure that we continue to grow our offerings to be the non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink beverage company of choice for local consumers."

Data sourced from BBC, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff