Inchcape puts pounds 25m into Russian drinks venture

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The Independent Online
INCHCAPE, the international services and marketing group, is to strengthen its links with Coca-Cola, the world's leading soft drinks group, by investing an estimated pounds 25m over three years in bottling franchises in six Russian cities, writes Terence Wilkinson.

Coca-Cola has been given the franchises over an area south and east of Moscow with a population approaching 50 million. As a first step Inchcape has bought an initial 11 per cent holding in the Volzhski brewery and soft drinks business in Volgograd. It plans to assume majority control of the soft drinks side.

A spokesman for Inchcape, which has bottled Coca-Cola in Chile since 1983 - its largest single activity in Latin America with sales of pounds 60m - said that the Russian deal fitted closely with its strategy of building global business streams. 'We are also skilled in operating in difficult territories and are comfortable taking a business we know well into a new location,' he added.