MANILA, Philippines – Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Co. is pouring in billions of dollars anew to the Philippines to continue bolstering its operations in one of its largest markets in the world.
In an interview, Coca-Cola group president for Asia Pacific Atul Singh told The STAR the beverage company, together with its bottling partner for the Philippines Fomento Economico Mexicano S.A.B. de C.V. (Femsa), is investing $1.2 billion up to 2020 to expand its facilities and beef up distribution and operations in the country.
“The money would be invested in more manufacturing lines, in trucks, in equipment, in distribution infrastructure, in marketing, in developing people, and training. So it’s a broad spectrum of investments across the board,” Singh said.
“We have high hopes of our business moving forward in the Philippines. The Philippines is a very important market to us and we have strong plans for it,” he added.
Singh said Coca-Cola has already invested $1.5 billion in the Philippines from 2010 to 2014.
He said the investment enhanced its distribution network and created over 2,000 new jobs for Filipinos.
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Likewise, the investment also led to the expansion of the Coca-Cola Canlubang plant, increase in production of its Misamis Oriental plant, the rehabilitation of its plant in Tacloban, and the purchase of a manufacturing plant in Davao del Sur from San Miguel Corp.
Singh said Coca-Cola presently has 19 plants in the Philippines and competes in seven different beverage categories locally.
“When you look at Asia Pacific, the Philippines is a very big player for us in the Asean market. It is a strategic market for us in Asia and that ‘s why we have made some substantial investments and we have strong plans for the future to continue to build on our investment. It is a strategically important market and it is a market we would like to continue to invest behind,” he said.
Singh said the amount of investment to be poured in the country by Coca-Cola over the next five years hopes to further support the robust economic growth of the Philippines.
“Typically as we expand the business we will employ more people in the sales field and we will employ more people in the distribution side. But more than just direct employment, what is important also is indirect employment. As we invest and expand our business, there is a big multiplier effect in many other industries like in packaging, people who make the bottles, crowns, the logistics, raw material, all of them expands. That’s the beauty of our system. We look at sustainability for our entire value chain, not just our business,” he said.
Coca-Cola officials were in the country recently for a three-day trip in recognition of the company’s strong commitment of making major investments in the Philippines.
Coca-Cola chairman and chief executive officer Muhtar Kent met with President Aquino to emphasize the valuable role of the Philippine market in helping the company achieve unprecedented growth in recent years.
The beverage company said President Aquino was pleased to learn about its planned investment in the country and commended the firm for its commitment of not only growing its business but also for implementing programs that advance the economic and social goals.
“We are really proud of our relationship with the Filipino people over the 100 years we’ve been here. It is a country with very happy people and their values go very closely with Coca-Cola. So clearly, there is a great common values system between the consumer of the Philippines and our brands at Coca-Cola,” Singh said.