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Three decades of Coca-Cola after its re-entry in the Indian market



It has been a rollercoaster ride for the American beverage brand Coca-Cola in India since its first manufacturing unit was established in 1950. In 1977, the company decided to leave India due to the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA). The act prohibited foreign companies from owning more than 40 per cent of any business in India. Three decades of Coca-Cola brand later made a re-entry in 1993 following the relaxation of the foreign exchange laws.

Coca-Cola kept going from strength to strength, before its sales were affected by the pandemic in 2020. However, the brand boasted revenue of Rs. 7003.87 crores in the financial year 2021. The revenue operations stood at 6,956.02 crores. Currently, the soft drink giant is a leading player in the Indian beverage market with a 60 per cent share in the carbonated soft drinks segment and 36 per cent share in the fruit drinks segment

The company owns major soft drink brands in the country with Coke, Maaza and Limca being some of the favourites. Both Maaza and Limca were acquired by Coca-Cola in the year 1993 from Ramesh Chauhan, chairman of the “Bisleri International” when it made a re-entry into the Indian market. Thumbs-Up, one of the subsidiaries of Coca Cola became a 1-billion-dollar brand as reported by the company in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“Our local thumbs up brand became a billion-dollar brand in India, driven by focus marketing and execution plans,” said James Quincey, Chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company

The fruit drink brand “Maaza” recorded sales of Rs 2826 crores in the financial year 2021, according to an official statement by the company. It has surpassed the sales of Coke and become the 3rd largest soft drink brand in terms of sales in the country. “Maaza is bigger than Coke, and Limca is just smaller than Coke. That is the current situation,” Quincey said.

Coca-Cola also bought the popular beverage brand “Gold Spot” from Bisleri International, but is currently focusing on its similar brand “Fanta”. Talking about the competition between the two brands, Quincey said,” “Two brands in the orange category will be a confusion and so, we are not using Gold Spot now.”

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