Coca-Cola to up investment in Vietnam amid rivals' expansion

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Coca-Cola plans to invest an additional US$300 million over the next three years into its business in Vietnam as its competitors are in the process of expanding within the country.

Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, said in a press conference on Friday that the investment will be used to improve the production capacity of its three factories, boost marketing activities and support retail system.

The increase is expected to push Coca-Cola's total investment to $500 million for 2010-2015, VnExpress reported Friday.

The company's original plan in 2009, 15 years after reentering the country, was to double its $200 million investment in its Vietnam production in three years.

Earlier this month, PepsiCo opened its largest plant in all of Asia, valued $73 million, in the northern province of Bac Ninh, according to a VnEconomy report last week.

It was part of its 2010 plan to double its investment in Vietnam to $500 million in three years since first penetrating the local market in 1994. PepsiCo now has six plants in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the local beverage competitor Tan Hiep Phat is building two more factories this year which are scheduled to begin operating at the end of 2013 with a total investment of VND3.3 trillion ($158.4 million).

Tan Hiep Phat, which tops the market for bottled tea products, has one operating plant in the southeastern province of Binh Duong.

Kent told local media that Vietnam has big potential in the nonalcoholic beverage industry.

Vietnam plans to double the volume of nonalcoholic beverage produced by 2015, from two billion liters by 2010, according to a statement from the Ministry of Industry and Trade in 2009. The figure is expected to reach 11 billion liters by 2025.

Coca-Cola originally entered Vietnam's beverage market in 1960 and returned to Vietnam in 1994.

It opened three joint-ventures across the country over the next four years, which later merged into the Ho Chi Minh City-based Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam in 2001.

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