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Mecca Cola launched; Gujarat may be hub

By BS Regional Bureau in Ahmedabad
May 04, 2004 08:37 IST
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French company Mecca Cola on Monday launched its product in the western zone. The company has manufacturing facilities in France and the United Arab Emirates.

After Jammu and Kashmir, where the brand was launched in March, Gujarat is the second market in India that Mecca Cola is targeting.

The company announced here that ten per cent of all sales income will be donated to voluntary organisations, orphanages and needy persons.

The soft drinks market in India is pegged at around Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion), Mecca Cola officials said.

The company should be able to target at least 10 per cent of this market by the end of a year of operations, they said.

"We launched the product - at present available only in tins of 250 ml and with the flavours Classic, Lime and Orange -- in Jammu and Kashmir in March and in the first 15 days, Mecca Cola has sold about 54,000 tins. We have chosen Gujarat as the second market for the launch because it has always adopted new tastes and quality products," said Imran Nazir, director, marketing-India, of Mecca Cola.

Nazir said, "In the initial phase, we will sell just tins and subsequently, PET bottles in different sizes will also be introduced. For the first year or so, Mecca Cola will import products from its plant in the United Arab Emirates, after which it plans to set up four manufacturing facilities in four zones of the country. PET bottles of Mecca Cola will be launched next month."

"This is like a test launch. We will try and establish ourselves in the market before beginning manufacturing facilities in the country. Gujarat will definitely be among the top options for our proposed west zone manufacturing facility," he said. Nazir, however, said it is too early to state when the manufacturing facilities will be set up and the amount of investment.

Nazir said the prices have not been fixed, but it is likely to be about five per cent more than the colas being sold in India at present. "We will deliver the best quality colas manufactured at our plant in UAE, that is certified by international agencies," he said.

Following Gujarat, the company will launch Mecca Cola in south India and then the eastern parts of the country.

On the sales targets, Nazir said it will be difficult to compete with big brands already existing in the Indian market.

"But we will have distributors in each district of Gujarat and target more people," Nazir said.

Saiyed Ali Saiyed and H Mihira and Associates have been appointed as the sole clearing and forwarding agents for the entire western region.

Nazir said once the three basic brands are introduced and become popular, Mecca Cola will also introduce apple, strawberry and vanilla brands in the market.

Mecca Cola was launched worldwide about 11 months ago and has been introduced in Europe, Africa, Asia, UAE and Saudi Arabia. The company is headed by Tawfiq Mathlauthi, chairman and founder of Mecca Cola France.

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BS Regional Bureau in Ahmedabad

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