BOSTON — Increasing volume in still beverages, possibly through acquisitions, and working with strong bottling partners are two avenues of growth for The Coca-Cola Co., said James Quincey, newly named president and chief operating officer, in a Sept. 9 presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston.
The Coca-Cola Co. on Aug. 13 named Mr. Quincey, a 19-year veteran of the company, as president. He had been president of The Coca-Cola Co.’s Europe Group since 2013.
Mr. Quincey said The Coca-Cola Co. has created some still beverage brands from scratch and turned them into $1 billion brands, but that practice alone will not be fast enough to meet company goals.
“We are going to need to do some volume acquisitions,” Mr. Quincey said. “They come up opportunistically. Sometimes people (are) selling, want too much money, and we shouldn’t do them. When the price is right, whether that’s a full acquisition or a stake, then it is something we should explore.”
He gave the example of Coca-Cola once having a “big black hole” in the juice market in Western Europe.
“My strategy is very simple,” Mr. Quincey said. “I need to turn the black hole into an orange hole, and that’s why I want something that can be a value leader in chilled in Western Europe.”
The Coca-Cola Co. in March 2013 thus reached agreement with London-based smoothie maker Innocent Drinks to acquire the majority of the latter’s remaining shares in the company. Innocent at the time sold natural health products in more than 15 countries, offering fruit smoothies, orange juice and “veg pots” (a soup-like product).
In bottling, Coca-Cola needs to invest in the most capable partners, he said.
“So, bigger, more capable bottlers, more well-funded bottlers, and you’ll see a number of announcements over the course of this year, not all implemented yet,” he said.
The world’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler based on net revenues will be created through an agreement announced Aug. 6. Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., Coca-Cola Iberian Partners SA and Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetränke AG agreed to combine their businesses into a new company to be called Coca-Cola European Partners, P.L.C. In North American bottling, refranchising will continue, Mr. Quincey said.“Dynamic brands, great marketing, superior execution are always going to be key components to our success in any market, but in order to do that, we need to make sure that we’re organized in a simple and clear way together with our bottler partners, ensuring that the company and the system focus on our individual strengths and how we work collectively,” Mr. Quincey said.