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Business

Coca Cola still bullish on Phl

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MANILA, Philippines - Coca Cola Export Corp. (CCEC), the local subsidiary of the Atlanta-based Coca Cola Company, expects to “grow faster than the economy” this year, driven by the improving business climate in the country and the stronger spending capacity of the middle class.

In a round table discussion with reporters yesterday, CCEC president and general manager Guillermo Aponte said the Philippines is now the company’s 10th largest market in the world in terms of volume sales but declined to share the sales figures.

Aponte said the growth of the company in the Philippines is driven by the large population which grows at an average of two percent every year.

“This is a country that offers us a lot of opportunities. The young population in the Philippines is growing and there’s no better place for our company than a place with a young population,” he said.

The growth in the BPO industry, which employs hundreds of thousands of young Filipinos, contributes to the increased spending power of the emerging middle class. 

“Many of them have higher-than-average salaries and they are the drivers of the middle class,” Aponte said.

He also noted that the economic climate in the Philippines is promising for the long-term.

“The forecast of the economy that we foresee for the Philippines for the next 20 years is very promising. We see the Philippines moving into a very positive range of growth and that means that the emerging middle class in the Philippines is a driving force for consumption for many (product) categories. So we are very bullish and very positive with prospects for the Philippines,” said Aponte.

CCEC opened last year a manufacturing plant in Cagayan de Oro to cater to consumers in the region. It also expanded the capacity of its plants in Sta. Rosa Laguna and Cebu. Early this year, a new bottling line was put up in Cebu.

 “We are improving our facilities and at the same time, we are expanding the availability of coverage of our products,” he said.

He said the company wants to expand its distribution in Mindanao and Visayas. Aponte said the expansion of several supermarket chains provide the company opportunities for expansion of its distribution network. 

To date, the company currently has around 22 bottling lines nationwide.

He said that after the establishment of a new bottling line in Cebu early this year, no other new bottling lines will be put up to first maximize the current capacities of the existing lines.

The rapid expansion of supermarket chains such as SM Hypermarket, Gaisano and Puregold is expected to help the company widen its distribution network.

CCEC, along with other softdrink makers in the country, is expected to get a relief this year from high sugar prices which spiked between 2010 to 2011.

Aponte said that during this phenomenon, the company has managed to keep product prices to an acceptable level.

CCEC now fully owns Coca Cola Bottlers Philippines. Four years ago, the company bought back the 60 percent share held by San Miguel Corporation. The company manufactures carbonated beverages Coke, Sprite, Royal, as well as other non-carbonated beverages.

CCEP is celebrating the brand’s 100th year of presence in the Philippines with several corporate social responsibility initiative this year for education, women empowerment, and nutrition.

APONTE

CEBU

COCA COLA BOTTLERS PHILIPPINES

COCA COLA COMPANY

COCA COLA EXPORT CORP

COMPANY

GAISANO AND PUREGOLD

GUILLERMO APONTE

MINDANAO AND VISAYAS

PHILIPPINES

YEAR

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