$1B investment is new money–Coca-Cola

09/30/2010 - MANILA, Philippines—The local unit of Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. on Wednesday clarified that the $1-billion investment its top brass promised to President Benigno Aquino III during his recent US trip represents a fresh set of funds, and was on top of the $1 billion it promised his predecessor last year.

“This is a fresh investment,” said Wally Panganiban, media relations manager of Coca-Cola Bottlers Phil.

“The earlier investments are bearing fruit in, among others, the new bottling plant now rising in Misamis [Oriental], our fifth in Mindanao and the first new plant in 10 years,” Panganiban said.

The new investment will go toward “strengthening marketing execution and enhancing system logistics and delivery capabilities in order to better serve its expanding customer and consumer base,” the company said in a statement.

Coca-Cola operates 23 plants and 42 sales offices with over 7,800 direct employees across the Philippines.

The company made the clarification because of the seeming confusion created by President Aquino’s announcement of a $1-billion investment from Coca-Cola, as former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo also announced a $1-billion investment from Coca-Cola “to be invested in the next few years” when she returned from her US trip August 2009.

Panganiban said Coca-Cola’s decision to invest fresh funds in the country was “due to the continuing improvement in the investment climate” and the beverage giant’s “commitment to the Philippines.”

Communications Group Secretary Ricky Carandang earlier explained that of the $1 billion promised by Coca Cola to Arroyo last year, $600 million was used by the firm to complete their share buyback program (after it reacquired CCBPI from San Miguel Corp.) while the balance of $400 million was used for capital expenditures.

On Wednesday, a statement from Coca-Cola’s US headquarters stressed the company’s pledge “to increase investments in this important country by $1 billion over five years.”

The commitment was conveyed by Coca-Cola Pacific group president Glenn Jordan to President Aquino during a recent meeting in New York.

“Our new commitment to invest $1 billion in our business over five years will strengthen production, distribution and help development of new products to refresh Filipino consumers,” Jordan said.

“This investment is a proof point of our strong commitment to the Philippines, our confidence in the prospects of the Filipino economy and the continued growth of a broader and more affluent middle class in the Philippines,” he added in the statement
(Inquirer)

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