New Delhi: The Coca-Cola Company made net gains of $293 million from sale of some bottling operations to local players in certain territories in India earlier this year, the world’s largest beverage maker said on Tuesday.

In January and February this year, the company’s bottling arm Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd (HCCB) announced the sale of bottling operations in Rajasthan, Bihar, the north-east, and select areas in West Bengal to independent bottlers.

Coca-Cola works with bottling partners who manufacture and distribute its beverages in designated markets. In India, it also operates HCCB, the company-owned bottling business. 

The sale of some bottling operations, or refranchising, was aimed at streamlining the supply chain in the region and raising the bar on execution, the company had said.

“During the three months ended March 29, 2024, the company recorded net gains of $599 million and $293 million related to the refranchising of our bottling operations in the Philippines and in certain territories in India, respectively,” the company said announcing its March-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

Commenting on demand, the company said India was off to a slow start in the three months ended 29 March.

However, the beverage major remains “bullish” on the long-term prospects of the country where it sells several brands including Coca-Cola, Sprite, Minute Maid etc. The management expects the company to have a “strong” year in India.

“The one that was atypical or at least compared to recent quarters, was India (that) had a slower start in January and February. As we’ve talked in previous calls, we are very bullish on the long-term prospects for the India business. We’re also very clear it’s not going to be a straight line or metronomically consistent growth. So, it wasn’t in the first quarter. It was a little soft in January, February, March and April now (there is a) bounce-back. And so we expect to see India continue to have a strong year this year,” James Quincey, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company said during the company’s post-earnings call.

The company does not give India-specific quarterly numbers.

In the Asia-Pacific region the company reported a 2% decline in unit case volume, as growth in trademark Coca-Cola and juice, value-added dairy and plant-based beverages, was more than offset by a decline in water, sports, coffee and tea. Growth in the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Indonesia was more than offset by a decline in China, it said.

Overall, the company’s net revenues grew 3% to $11.3 billion in the March quarter, and organic revenues grew 11%. Revenue performance included 13% growth in price-mix and a 2% decline in concentrate sales.

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Published: 30 Apr 2024, 08:19 PM IST