• Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Up against revived Campa Cola, Coca-Cola feels India offers tremendous growth opportunity: Here’s why

(Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

American multinational company Coca-Cola on Monday (27) said it and its bottling partners are making significant investments in India which has reached an inflection point supported by infrastructure expansion, rural electrification and digitisation, the Hindu BusinessLine reported.

The company, which divested its company-owned bottling operations in north India four years ago, said it will look at adopting a similar strategy in other regions in the long run.

John Murphy, president and chief financial officer (CFO), Coca-Cola Company, said at a select media roundtable that “a lot of investments” are currently underway by the company and its bottling partners in India.

“We are very confident that the growth equation for India will be in the top quartile of the world. We, along with our partners believe in the opportunity ahead and are willing and capable of investing whatever it takes to stay relevant and have our fair share of the pie,” he was quoted as saying by the Hindu BusinessLine report.

For Coca-Cola, India is the fifth largest market in the world and according to Murphy, its rise in the global rankings will continue.

Stressing that India is going through an inflection point driven by many factors, Murphy said development in infrastructure is taking place in a systemic way across India.

According to the Hindu BusinessLine report, the Coca-Cola official also said at the roundtable, “The electrification landscape has transformed, not just in larger cities and towns but also in rural parts. India is perhaps leading the world in digitisation. There has been significant reduction in poverty over the last 15-20 years and there has been an emergence of the middle class. The FDI numbers have been impressive. So, there is a flywheel that has been unleashed and it promises tremendous opportunity for everybody.”

In response to a query on his company’s future divestment plans, the president and CFO said the aim is to focus on things that they are good at — building brands and being a good franchise partner to their bottles around the world.

“So over the years, we will divest in other regions in India and we will do it in a thoughtful and a very deliberate manner,” he said.

In 2019, Coca-Cola divested bottling operations of its bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) in north India. HCCB presently operates about 25 plants in India’s southern, western and eastern regions.

Murphy’s visit and words in India came at a time when the competition in the beverage sector is all set to heat up with Reliance’s foray in the space with the relaunching of the iconic Indian beverage brand of the 1980s, Campa Cola.

The official said he believes competition is “actually a good thing” for the beverage industry and reflects the strong opportunity that is available in the market.

Earlier in March, billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance announced Campa’s relaunch of Campa for new-age India.

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