Coca-Cola Plans to Invest $120 m in Indian Arm

K. Giriprakash Business Line
August 31, 2006

Bangalore: Brushing aside the `pesticide in colas' controversy, Coca-Cola has said it is investing $120 million (Rs 560 crore) more during the year in its Indian company Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages (HCCB) to grow the per capita consumption of its beverages.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson told Business Line that the new investment in HCCB is expected to increase the urban and rural penetration of its brands and diversify its range of beverages. "All this has been designed to help secure a strong future for the company," the spokesperson said. The spokesperson said Coca-Cola during the last 13 years invested over $1 billion in its Indian operations. The spokesperson said Coca-Cola has 60 per cent share in the Indian carbonated soft drink industry whose current size is 500 million cases (each case consisting of 24 bottles).

The spokesperson said Coke would also expand its vended tea and coffee business, Georgia. Its `Georgia Gold' hot vending machines will be expanded further through a concept called `Georgia Junctions'. About 100 Georgia junctions will be rolled out within this calendar year in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Hyderabad.

These would act as interceptors at high traffic areas and will be a one stop shop for the consumers. In addition to tea and coffee, they will carry the entire range of Coca-Cola India's beverage portfolio including carbonated soft drinks, juices and water.

High quality snacks and bakery items will also be on offer at these `junctions.' "These junctions are being put up at places frequented by consumers with high willingness to spend," the spokesperson said. There are also plans to push `Georgia Gold Frosts' which are cold coffee and tea vending machines. There are over 6,000 Georgia vending machines installed across the country.

On its other beverages, the company official said Coca-Cola has a higher market share than its other brand Thums Up, while its fruit drink brand, Maaza has a 30 per cent market share. Its bottled water brand, Kinley has a market share of over 22 per cent.

Investing in Research

Last year, a Coca-Cola official had said that the company wanted to transform itself into a total beverage company in India as it planned to launch a slew of health and wellness drink brands in the country. The official had forecast that over a period of time, the share between carbonated drinks and non-carbonated drinks could be equal.

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