Despite its decision to shut down its concentrate plant in Canlubang, the Coca-Cola group said it remained committed to the Philippines, stressing that its $1.35-billion bottling operations would continue to expand over the next several years.
In a statement, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines said the closure of the Canlubang plant later this year would have no effect on the bottling plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, which made up the bulk of the Coca-Cola group’s operations in the country.
“The closure of the Coca-Cola plant in Laguna is not connected to the bottling operations … and the affected employees are not associates of our company,” said Coca-Cola Femsa, parent firm of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines.
Mexico’s Coca-Cola Femsa earlier completed a deal to acquire a 51-percent stake in Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines for $688.5 million. This put the enterprise value of the Philippine bottler at $1.35 billion.
Under the deal, Coca-Cola Femsa has the option to buy the remaining 49 percent of CCBPI within seven years after the closing of the deal.
Its acquisition of the Coca-Cola Bottlers was the Mexican firm’s first investment outside Latin America.
“(This) reflects our confidence in the opportunities this country provides. We are now in a process of transformation, with the objective of generating economic and social value for all those who come in contact with our brand,” Coca-Cola Femsa said.
CCBPI has 23 production plants and serves close to 800,000 customers. It is expected to sell about 530 million unit cases of beverages in 2012.
At the weekend, Coca-Cola Export Corp., a subsidiary of Atlanta’s Coca-Cola Co., announced the streamlining of its concentrate supply chain in the Asia Pacific region.
Part of this was the closure of the concentrate plant in Canlubang, Laguna. Its operations would be moved to Singapore. The concentrate plant has 57 employees who will be offered jobs at other segments of Coca-Cola’s operations in the Philippines and Singapore.
Coca-Cola has been in the Philippines since the beginning of the 20th century and has been locally produced since 1912. The Philippines is the recipient of the first Coca-Cola bottling and distribution franchise in Asia.