Coca-Coca bullish on economic, business growth outlook in 2014

By Roderick L. Abad, BusinessMirror

Posted at Feb 03 2014 07:43 AM | Updated as of Feb 03 2014 03:43 PM

MANILA - Bouyed by reports on the country’s economic growth in 2013, Coca-Cola Philippines remains positive on the continued economic growth as well as business prospects in the country this year.

In spite of the natural and man-made disasters the country faced in the last quarter of 2013, the Philippines’s economy was reported to have grown by 7.2 percent. Next only to China, the country was the second best-performing economy in Asia in the fourth quarter, up 0.4 percent from 6.8 percent in 2012 and surpassing the 6-percent to 7-percent expansion target in 2013.

“We continue being very bullish with the performance of the economy or business. We think we are heading up to a very good year,” Coca-Cola Philippines General Manager (GM) Guillermo Aponte told reporters in a news briefing last week.

Last year Coca-Cola Philippines introduced to the domestic market a new variant of its popular fruit juice brand Minute Made and the 300-milliliter P10 plastic bottle marketed as Coke Mismo.

The beverage giant, Aponte said, is hopeful of more business gains, particularly during the peak summer season.

Without going into details, he bared more product launches in the pipeline as part of their investment plan for 2014.

“So these are going to be, definitely, drivers of our business. [Watch out for] many more surprises and projects that we’ll [introduce] this year,” he said.

While competition remains tough with other beverage players, Aponte is confident the company will sustain its No. 1 position on the back of a strong marketing network and brand.

“The competitive advantage we have is, first and foremost, our people. Second, we have the strongest brand than anybody can have—Coca Cola [is]the most preferred brand,” he stressed.

Coca-Cola has been in the Philippines for more than 100 years. The country was the first to get the brand’s bottling and distribution franchise in Asia.

Mexican firm Coca-Cola FEMSA—the biggest public bottler of Coca-Cola products globally which has operations in nine Latin American countries—acquired in 2013 the controlling 51 percent of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. from Atlanta-based The Coca-Cola Company for $688.5 million.