Eurasia & Africa Group gives Coca-Cola growth ability

by Eric Schroeder
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BOSTON — A favorable demographic landscape in the future is just one of the things that has the Eurasia & Africa Group within The Coca-Cola Co. poised to deliver as a significant growth engine for the Atlanta-based company, said Ahmet Bozer, president of Eurasia & Africa Group, Coca-Cola.

Mr. Bozer, speaking Sept. 9 to analysts at the Barclays Capital Back-to-School Conference in Boston, said the Eurasia & Africa Group represents 15% of the volume of The Cola-Cola Co., but over the past three years it has contributed approximately one-fourth of the company’s growth in terms of volume. That growth has been spurred by leading positions in sparkling water and juices, iced tea and energy drinks.

During the past three years, Mr. Bozer said Coca-Cola consistently has outgrown the overall non-alcoholic ready-to-drink beverages market (N.A.R.T.D.) in the Eurasia and Africa region.

"We have been growing in a healthy way, and we have been growing faster than the industry, which points to the quality of the growth that we’re able to achieve," he said.

Mr. Bozer noted that while the Eurasia & Africa Group currently has a high concentration of teenagers, the company anticipates a "very favorable demographic picture" by 2020.

"As you roll the time forward the demographic portfolio, or demographic makeup of this region, would be such that there would still be a large amount of teens … but then there will be a very sizable demographic cohort of young adults and adults," he said. "So we are really in the perfect time for this region to capitalize on these demographic trends."

Given the challenging economic environment over the past year, Mr. Bozer said the group has been affected to varying degrees. Some countries, such as India and Nigeria, have seen minimal impact, while others, such as Turkey, have been affected moderately. The third grouping, which includes Russia, have been impacted a bit more.

Mr. Bozer said the strategy in the latter countries has been to solidify a foundation.

"We have to make sure that the good margins that we have, the profitability we have, is preserved to the extent possible and we gain share," he said.

Coca-Cola’s vision for the region between now and 2020 involves a series of three-year plans and long-range plans, all of which are driven by the desire to lead industry growth, Mr. Bozer said. He indicated that the group’s efforts will be a success if it accomplishes three elements: to have led the industry growth, to have created value for the system and to have created a business that when you look at it can continue to grow sustainably.

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