September 27 - Coca-Cola, the Olympics' longest sponsor with an association dating back to 1928, has opened its largest beverage plant in Russia as part of a $3 billion (£2 billion/€2.2 billion) investment to try to take advantage of Sochi hosting the 2014 Winter Games.
The plant in the city of Rostov-on-Don, which has cost over $120 million ($77 million/€89 million) to build and will create more than 400 jobs, will supply all the Coca-Cola products for the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi.
"The construction of this new plant demonstrates that the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have become a catalyst for economic development in the South of Russia. Coca-Cola and the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee share two key principles - a commitment to innovation and a determination to ensure that the impact of our activities on the environment is minimised," said Dmitry Chernyshenko, the President and chief executive of Sochi 2014.
"The plant uses some of the most advanced technologies so I have no doubt that this ongoing collaboration between Sochi 2014 and Coca-Cola, is going to be a successful one.
"I believe that in 2014 we are going to be thirsty but only for Olympic victory."
Coca-Cola are involved in a fierce battle for market share with bitter rivals PepsiCo's in the former Soviet Republics.
PepsiCo earlier this year had acquired a two-thirds stake in Russia's second-largest food and beverage company Wimm-Bill-Dann for $3.8 billion ((£2.4 billion/€2.8 billion).
The investment by Coca-Cola's main rival was PepsiCo's largest outside the United States and underscored its commitment to a market it first penetrated in 1973.
"The Coca-Cola Company is proud to be serving this great nation's 140 million-plus consumers," said Muhtar Kent, the chairman and chief executive of The Coca-Cola Company.
"Our system is part of the fabric of Russia's economic development and we continue to invest in Russia to create jobs and stimulate growth across our supply chain.
"Today's announcement underscores the Coca-Cola system's long-term strategy of investing in Russia.
"The Coca-Cola Company along with our bottling partner, Coca-Cola Hellenic, will invest in Russia more than $3 billion (£2 billion/€2.2 billion) in five years from 2012 to 2016."
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