Coca-Cola springs into action

Kathmandu, March 11:

Just as the season for the soft drinks is around the corner, Coca-Cola — bogged down with controversies and labour dispute — appears to have pulled up its socks and got into major repositioning in Nepal. Coca-Cola SABCO (South African Bottling Co) the primary stakeholder in Bottlers Nepal Ltd, the sole franchisee of Coca-Cola in Nepal, today announced its plans to address the domestic market with a renewed vigour in a bid to retain its number one position.

Armed with a refurbished management team,a strategic tie-up with the one of the leading industrial houses and additional investments in equipment and expertise, Coca-Cola, Nepal claimed to be all geared for massive growth.

Division human resour-ces manager for Asia, Brian Horn, admitting BNL was being run more like a family business claimed that it would become more professional now.

Saumindra Bhattacharya has become the new country manager, besides a slew of new officials from Nepal and abroad, including Pasaka Nyamusika from Tanzania. Bhattacharya reiterated the fact that Coca-Cola was the number one brand in terms of brand value

as well as brand acceptance across the globe and in Nepal too.

“Besides, the right consumer connect, right investment strategies, we now have the right partnership,” he said, referring to the recent joint venture partnership with the Khetan Group.

Coca-Cola SABCO last month sold off 22 per cent of its stakes in BNL to Mutual Trading Company, an arm of Khetan Group’s management and investment portfolio to leverage the latter’s local expertise in handling the beverage market.

Rajendra Khetan, chairman of the Khetan Group, claimed the JV was aimed at creating new synergies in the beverage industry.

Since 2004, Coca-Cola SABCO had made a total investment of $10 million in the bottling line, building and equipment including $5 million on the PET facility alone.