Atul Singh, president and CEO, Coca-Cola India and South-West Asia, tells FEs Neha Pal that the company would not cut down its spends during slowdown and would continue to channelise its investments in both urban and rural markets. Excerpts:
What are your expansion plans for urban and rural areas of the country
We are strong in 1.5 million outlets in the country and the total FMCG market is about 7-8 million outlets. So there is a lot of opportunity both in urban and rural India, which is a strategic market for Coca-Cola. We are also expanding our distribution channels and are looking at opening manufacturing facilities at Karnataka.
How are you going to channelise the $2-billion investment that has been set aside for Indian operations in the next five years.
We are going to utilise the $2-billion capital across various sectors including manufacturing, distribution, infrastructure, cold drink equipment, transportation and advertising. The companys 2020 vision is to double its revenues globally and the investment is made as India is one of the most important growth markets for Coca-Cola.
Are you targeting the health drinks which constitute only 2% of your overall revenues
We are definitely targeting the health segment and would be expanding this vertical along with others. Since the percentage of health drinks is growing in the F&B market, we understand the need of the customers and would be expanding our health segment. Coca-Cola already has health drinks like juices and energy drinks in the market. We would be focusing on dairy segment and will be introducing Maaza Milky Delight in Kolkata.
Coca-Cola is primarily known as a beverage maker. Any plans to move to the food segment
Coca-Cola has lot of drinks under its domain such as Fanta, Limca, Minute Maid Pulpy Orange, Burn, Schweppes and Georgia Tea. We do not have any plans for entering the food vertical as of now. We are concentrating on the beverage segment.
Any price hike on the cards
There have been a rise in commodity prices like sugar, but pricing is a careful decision and we would only charge what consumers can pay.
Are you planning any cut in your spends due to the slowdown
The company is not thinking of any cut in its spends in infrastructure, distribution, advertisement and would continue to spend to reach to consumers. India is a strategic market, so we will continue to invest. We are also very active in various CSR initiatives and events such as Limca Book of Records.