Coca-Cola plans to invest 14B baht in Thailand during next three years, primarily in branding, cold drink equipment, distribution, new production lines, outlet management

LOS ANGELES , March 27, 2012 () – The Coca-Cola Co. plans to invest 14 billion baht (US$455.6 million) in Thailand over the next three years, primarily in branding, cold drink equipment, distribution, new production lines and outlet management, the Bangkok Post reported March 26.

Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent indicated that the company intends to keep investing money in its Thailand operations.

Kent added that Coca-Cola considered the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Thailand constitutes an essential part, to be a priority market.

ASEAN, which has a population of 601 million people, currently accounts for 10% of Coca-Cola’s annual global sales, a number that is expected to grow to 15%-20% in five years.

Coca-Cola has invested in excess of 14 billion baht in its beverage operations in Thailand over the last three years.

Thailand’s annual per-capita consumption of carbonated beverages is only 76 bottles, Kent said, which means that there is a large potential for growth in the market. By contrast, Mexico’s annual per-capita consumption of carbonated beverages is 514 bottles.

Thailand’s and Mexico’s annual per-capita consumption of non-alcoholic beverages is 93 bottles and 738 bottles, respectively.

During his trip to Thailand, Kent voiced his support for two local bottlers: Haad Thip and and ThaiNamthip.

Coca-Cola has the largest Thai market share of any soft drink brand, Kent added. Thailand’s soft drink market is worth 35 billion bahts.

The 2015 launch of the ASEAN Economic Community will provide both opportunities and challenges for businesses in the region, Kent noted.

Kent added that Coca-Cola was not worried about the potential entry of new beverage and soft drink players into the Thai market.

The primary source of this article is the Bangkok Post, Bangkok, Thailand, on March 26, 2012.

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