Coca-Cola PH to spend P3 billion until Q3 to expand Luzon production

Nika Lazo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2021 04:49 PM

A file photo of bottled Coca-Cola in glass and plastic bottles. The company is setting aside an initial $63 million or P3 billion budget until the third quarter of 2021, mainly to expand its Luzon production capacity. ABS-CBN News file photo

MANILA - Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines Inc (CCBPI) said on Tuesday that it is setting aside $63 million or P3 billion until the third quarter of this year to expand Luzon production capacity from its Santa Rosa and Canlubang plants.

Gareth McGeown, president and CEO of CCBPI, told the media that this will balance out the concentrated investments in Mindanao last year, and prepare for the consumer demand seen after vaccinations are rolled out within the year.

"The $63 million, most of it is for capacity and a belief for stronger tomorrow than we have yesterday. The timeline is probably between now and the third quarter. The faster the better," McGeown said.

He said the company can add more investments later in the year should it perform well during the first three quarters.

The initial investment will also cover some of their logistics sites, the addition of environment-friendly trucks, and the production of returnable glass bottles which currently account for 56 percent of their bottled drinks.

"We have also new jobs, we created roles last year for the investments we will be doing this year," McGeown said.

In 2020, CCBPI invested a total of $97 million or around P4.7 billion mainly on 3 new production lines in Mindanao, the creation of new jobs and retention of existing employees, and accelerating digitalization to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CCBPI said it retained over 10,000 employees under Coca-Cola, and assisted more than 270,000 women retailers, mostly sari-sari stores to restart their businesses that were hurt during the pandemic.

The company said their global COVID-19 response funds came from the advertising budget they pulled out from their second quarter budget last year.

Antonio del Rosario, president of Coca-Cola Philippines and vice president for Franchise Operations in Asia-Pacific, noted that their Philippine operations fared better compared to other Coca-Cola units globally mainly due to the strength in their distribution systems, which are close to homes such as sari-sari stores.

For 2021, he said the company will refocus on core brands such as Coke, Sprite and Royal, as well as ramping up their water business with Wilkins and Wilkins Pure.

For company-wide vaccinations, McGeown said they are still in the planning phase, figuring out the process of how to inoculate more than 10,000 employees nationwide.

Coca-Cola has 20 manufacturing plants, and 78 sales and distribution centers in the Philippines.

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