KARACHI: Coca-Cola Ýçecek (CCI) promised further investment in Pakistan as its chairman inaugurated a $70-million bottling plant in Multan on Wednesday.
The Turkey-based parent of Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited is pursuing an active expansion plan in the country and said it needed to open a plant in Multan to increase its production capacity.
“Coupled with the Pakistani government’s efforts for economic prosperity, we are confident that Pakistan will grow its economy in the upcoming years,” Tuncay Özilhan, chairman of Coca-Cola Ýçecek (CCI), said at the inauguration ceremony of the new bottling plant.
“With its friendly people, talented workforce, promising youth as well as its rich and diverse culture, we believe in Pakistan and the future of this country,” a press release quoted Özilhan as saying. “Recognising this potential and preparing ourselves well for the future, we further plan to invest another $200 million in Pakistan in the next 3 years.”
Optimistic about its growth prospects in Pakistan, the Coca-Cola Company – one of the world’s largest beverage companies – had announced to invest $379 million on manufacturing facilities across Pakistan. In 2011, it had announced to set up three new bottling plants, one each in Karachi, Multan and Islamabad.
“Ten years ago, we believed in this country and our decision to invest here was the right one,” Özilhan said, adding the global beverages giant has invested more than $500 million since they started operations in the country.
The new plant, the press release says, will serve to meet the burgeoning consumer demand throughout the country for its beverage products, which include Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Fanta, Rani and Kinley.
The bottling plant in Multan, which was inaugurated by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, is spread over 120,000 square meters and will generate employment for over 2,500 people directly and indirectly, the company says.
Owing to its strategic location, Multan can not only serve southern and northern Punjab – which alone accounts for more than 60% of Coca-Cola’s business – but can also cater to Karachi’s market, company spokesman Fahad Qadir had told The Express Tribune in a previous interview.
Besides this new plant, Coca-Cola Pakistan already operates six bottling factories in Pakistan, located in Karachi, Gujranwala, Multan, Lahore, Rahimyar Khan, and Faisalabad. CCBPL has 35% market share, second only to its competitor PepsiCo.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2016.