A delegation of Coca-Cola System leaders visited Pakistan few days ago to witness the market that’s fueling growth for MENA & EMEA. The group included Brian Smith, President, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Group, Zoran Vucinic, President, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) BU, The Coca-Cola Company, Tuncay Ozilhan, Chairman Coca-Cola Icecek, Burak Basarir, CEO Coca-Cola Içecek and others. The main objective was to review the progress of local business, meet with stakeholders and further assess the enormous opportunities of this growing country.  

While the first day started with a Business Review Session at CCI HQ, the evening concluded by a dinner with Syed Babar Ali, renowned businessman and Chairman of CCI Pakistan. Brian Smith and Zoran Vucinic then inaugurated state-of-the-art Coca-Cola LUMS Aquatic Center at Lahore University of Management Sciences. This Center, built with a $1m donation from Coca-Cola, is the first ever FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation Amateur) approved indoor swimming facility, with eight lanes, 25-meter length, in a Pakistani university. The delegation, along with Rizwan U. Khan, General Manager, The Coca-Cola Export Corporation, Pakistan & Afghanistan, was welcomed at LUMS by Syed Babar Ali, Pro-Chancellor LUMS, Prof. Dr. S. Sohail H. Naqvi, Vice Chancellor LUMS, and Abdul Razak Dawood, Rector LUMS and Member of LUMS Board of Trustees.

At this occasion Brian Smith, while expressing his appreciation for the new facility, highlighted “It is very rare for us to invest in such facilities but I am extremely proud of what we have helped build here. Coca-Cola is one of the champions for advocating an active healthy living, so this Center will provide many such opportunities to students at LUMS. I am extremely impressed by our persistent partnership with LUMS, which also includes an endowment fund for School of Science & Engineering for academically brilliant students from underprivileged backgrounds. One such student, Sikandar Watoo, is a PhD candidate at Carnegie Mellon University in USA”.

Brian Smith & Tuncay Ozilhan during the Groundbreaking ceremony of Faisalabad Greenfield
Brian Smith & Tuncay Ozilhan during the Groundbreaking ceremony of Faisalabad Greenfield

A view of the Coca-Cola LUMS Aquatic Center
A view of the Coca-Cola LUMS Aquatic Center
 

Brian Smith, Syed Babar Ali, Zoran Vucinic, Razzaq Dawood and Dr. Sohail Naqvi
Brian Smith, Syed Babar Ali, Zoran Vucinic, Razzaq Dawood and Dr. Sohail Naqvi

A townhall with TCCEC associates was organized at the Head Office, where Brian Smith and Zoran Vucinic shared their thoughts about Pakistan’s success and where should the System focus in future. Zoran Vucinic in his remarks said “We all are delighted for what Pakistan has achieved in recent years but there is much more to come as we look beyond 2020. We have had several discussions on our Vision2025 for Pakistan and I am pleased that we succeeded in bringing everyone together to discuss where we want to take this business in the long term and to get a feel for the amount of investment required to make it happen”.

To celebrate Coca-Cola Pakistan’s milestone of achieving 300muc in 2016, a grand celebratory event was organized in Lahore. The mega event, titled ’70 Years of Glorious Pakistan’, featured the very best talent of the country, showcasing the journey of Pakistan since its independence in 1947 through a cultural manifestation in the form of musical and fashion show. The event featured top seven fashion designers of the country, with music by world renowned Sachal Studios.

Rizwan Khan welcomed the group in his opening remarks and talked about how the entire System overcame challenges to deliver the milestone. He further invited everyone to experience the various phases of Pakistan’s journey in last 70 years.

Speaking at the event, Brian Smith said “It makes me extremely proud to be here, in person, to congratulate all of you for a remarkable performance this past year. In markets like Pakistan, where we are investing significantly, we expect continued growth because of the immense potential this country has. With a growing young population, we as a Company are determined to invest more for the betterment of our local communities.”

TCCC & CCI Teams at the 300muc Celebration Event
TCCC & CCI Teams at the 300muc Celebration Event

The delegation later visited CCI Pakistan’s manufacturing facilities in Rahim Yar Khan and later broke ground for the Faisalabad Greenfield in Faisalabad Industrial State. The short ceremony was attended by the local teams, stakeholders and Management of the State. The state of the art facility will begin production in early Q2 2018. The System has already invested over $500m in last 3 years, with plans to invest another $200m in coming 3 years.

On the last day, the group visited Multan Greenfield facility which commenced production in 2016. During the brief stay, they engaged with the local teams and toured the facility. During his closing remarks, Brian Smith stated that Pakistan is amongst the most well aligned Systems within KO world, the credit for which goes to our local leadership. This is one of the many reasons why we are extremely bullish about the country’s future potential. The real strength and advantage is our people - who work for Company and Bottling partners with dedication, pride and commitment.

Brian Smith speaking at the Celebration Event in Lahore
Brian Smith speaking at the Celebration Event in Lahore

Models during the Celebration Event in Lahore
Models during the Celebration Event in Lahore