Coca-Cola India, bottling partners investing USD 1 bn to expand capacity

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Coca-Cola India and its bottling partners are investing around USD 1 billion (around Rs 7,990 crore) to expand the production capacity by up to 40 per cent, a senior official of the beverage major said on Wednesday. Besides, the company is also working to expand its addressable market in the country to increase the total addressable market by adding more products with relevant occasions, innovations and culture, its President – India and Southwest Asia – Sanket Ray said.

“On average, a billion dollars is what we are investing in capacities. This year we have already gotten 14 to 16 lines; next year we are getting a huge number of lines. This will help the company expand capacity by 30 to 40 per cent,” Ray said while addressing a media round table here.

This also includes investment from its bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd (HCCBL).

The company, which aspires to “be in the top five FMCG companies in India” is preparing to reach a larger consumer base with a new lineup of products, he said.

Globally, the India unit is only 2 per cent of the business and Coca-Cola India has plans to catch up in the next five to seven years.

The company plans to increase its household penetration in the Indian market.

Coca-Cola would also introduce low and zero sugar variants of its all sparkling brands, including Thums Up, Sprite, Fanta, Limca and Maaza within a year to provide more choices to its customers.

The company is quite encouraged by the response from the market. It had nearly 500 per cent growth from the zero-sugar segment in the first half of the year.

“Soon, every brand will have low sugar and zero sugar variants,” said Ray.

Coca-Cola is also taking energising drink ‘Charged’ under its top-selling brand Thums Up to pan India after piloting it in Punjab.

Besides, the beverage major is also launching Limca Sportz, which comes with glucose and electrolytes. It has roped in Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra for this.

On Tuesday, its parent firm Coca-Cola Company said its India business recorded the best-ever volumetrically growth in the second quarter (April-June).

It reported unit case volume growth in the June quarter, helped by its sparkling soft drinks portfolio and fruit drink brand Maaza.

“In India, we delivered our best-ever quarter volumetrically that’s 1 billion incremental transactions in the quarter led by affordable single serve packs. We gained share in sparkling soft drinks and juices and our system is continuing to invest in the marketplace availability and execution to capture growth,” Coca-Cola Company Chairman and CEO James Quincey said during the company’s earnings call on Tuesday.