The Nation

Singha wants to savour soft-drink market

Singha Corporation, Thailand's leading beer manufacturer and owner of the Singha and Leo brands, wants to claim a share of the Bt36-billion soft-drink market, which has been dominated by a few international players - Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Big Cola.

The move is aimed at strengthening Singha's portfolio of non-alcoholic beverages. The group has set a five-year strategy to raise their sales contribution to 30 per cent, up from about 10 per cent last year.In addition to non-alcoholic beverages, the group has diversified its business to many other sectors, including food and snacks, restaurants, energy, real estate, and fashion apparel.A source in the beverage industry said Singha Corp itself had broached the idea of contracting a local beverage factory to produce soft-drink products under an OEM (original equipment manufacturing) agreement. The source said it was possible that Singha wants to enter this competitive market, which has been dominated by giant brands such as Coke and Pepsi."Singha has a strong distribution network, especially in traditional trade. The traditional trade channel also accounts for about 75 per cent of total soft-drink distribution in Thailand," said the source.Meanwhile, the Coca-Cola system in Thailand and its local bottler ThaiNamthip yesterday announced the launch of two new flavours of Minute Maid Pulpy - one, an orange-mango juice mixture with real orange pulp, and the other a mixed fruit juice, also with natural orange pulp.More affordable new bottle sizes, priced at Bt15, have been launched to penetrate small privately run shops and expand the brand's availability. Coca-Cola has invested more than Bt80 million in a range of marketing activities that aim to strengthen the brand's leading position as well as in the production of a new TV commercial with brand ambassador Nadech Kukimiya. The initiatives aim to sustain Minute Maid Pulpy's double-digit sales growth since its launch in 2009.Charnvit Charindhorn, an executive of the Coca-Cola system in Thailand and senior vice president for new categories and new business development for ThaiNamthip, said: "The sales of Minute Maid Pulpy grew by 86 per cent in the first six months of this year compared with the same period last year. The growth is much higher than the market for ready-to-drink juices, which grew at about 10 per cent over the period." Charnvit said ThaiNamthip had this year inaugurated a Bt600-million state-of-the art production line for non-carbonated drinks in PET (polyethylene terephthalate plastic) packaging, which will give the company a technological edge in the highly competitive beverage market as well as extra capacity to accommodate strong growth in sales for Minute Maid Pulpy.Minute Maid Pulpy achieved Bt700 million in sales last year and is targeted to continue its growth by 86 per cent for the full period this year.In a separate interview yesterday, Chanin Thiencharoen, marketing manager of AJE Thai, the producer and distributor of Big Cola, said the company would spend Bt40 million to promote its cola products in the third quarter of this year. It has appointed Korean pop band B1A4 as the presenter for Big Cola in its new 360-millilitre plastic bottle and will target a new and younger group of customers aged 12 and older for Big Cola.

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