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For the December quarter, India registered “solid” growth in volumes (Bloomberg)
For the December quarter, India registered “solid” growth in volumes (Bloomberg)

Product launches aid growth at Coca Cola’s India business

  • In 2018, Coca-Cola launched over 18 products including variants across Minute Maid, Maaza and Thums-Up brands
  • Unit case volume growth in India during the year also aided demand growth for part of its beverage portfolio globally

New Delhi: Product launches during the year helped beverage maker Coca-Cola Company draw 25% of its overall revenue growth in India, chief executive officer James Quincey said during the company’s earnings call on Thursday. The company follows a calendar year.

In 2018, India’s largest beverage maker launched over 18 new products, including new variants across its Minute Maid, Maaza and Thums-Up brands.

The company did not share stand-alone volume growth numbers for India for the year, but added that for the year unit case volume growth in India helped grow demand for part of its beverage portfolio globally.

“For the year, sparkling soft drinks grew 2%, driven by strong growth in China and India as well as across Central and Eastern Europe," Coca-Cola said in its earnings release.

For the December quarter, India registered “solid" growth in volumes, the company said. “For the quarter, unit case volume growth was even, as solid growth across Central and Eastern Europe as well as India was offset by the impact of more challenging economic conditions in certain emerging markets, such as Argentina and Central America."

The company defines unit case volume as the number of unit cases of beverages directly or indirectly sold by the company and its bottling partners.

"Good results across key markets helped us register the strongest organic growth in revenues in the region over the last five years," Quincey said of growth during the year in the Asia-Pacific region, which includes India. In the APAC region, “unit case volume grew 2% in the quarter led by strong growth across India and Southeast Asia, partially offset by declines in the Philippines and Australia," the company added.

This is the company’s sixth straight quarter of volume growth in India that had slowed down in 2016 on the back of the government’s move to ban high currency notes followed by the introduction of the goods and services tax.

Coca-Cola returned to growth in the second quarter of 2017 by posting a quarterly sales volume growth of 6%.

Coca-Cola has been pushing more fruit-based beverages in the market to chase a shift in consumer preferences.

In 2017, the company promised investments of 11,000 crore in what it calls a “fruit-circular"economy, that will help the company source fruits locally and make beverages innovated for India.

For the year overall, the Atlanta-headquartered company posted 5% growth in organic sales.

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