RJ Corp to bottle Pepsi in Morocco

RJ Corp, PepsiCo“s biggest bottler in South Asia, has acquired the beverage maker“s entire franchisee bottling operations in Morocco for about USD 100 million, making it one of the largest acquisiti…

RJ Corp, PepsiCo“s biggest bottler in South Asia, has acquired the beverage maker“s entire franchisee bottling operations in Morocco for about USD 100 million, making it one of the largest acquisitions by the bottling-to-real estate company. PepsiCo, which is a distant second to Coca-Cola in Africa, wants to scale up presence in Morocco where the soft drink market is estimated at USD 1 billion. The Morocco buy has given RJ Corp access to the entire North Africa market and expands its global footprint. We expect our African businesses to touch USD 1 billion in the next three years, said RJ Corp owner Ravi Jaipuria. RJ Corp will take care of manufacturing and distribution of PepsiCo beverages, and will play a key role if PepsiCo is to challenge Coca-Cola in Africa in both distribution and market share. PepsiCo trails Coca-Cola in many world markets, including India. It is banking on RJ Corp to step up its presence in growing markets, hence these buyouts, a beverage industry veteran said. PepsiCo believes that RJ Corp will be able to significantly step up its market shares and distribution, the person added. RJ Corp has been increasing its global presence in recent years, particularly in Africa, with ongoing Pepsi bottling operations in Mozambique and Zambia, along with KFC franchise in Nigeria and Costa Coffee in India. RJ Group“s Morocco deal comes exactly one year after it acquired PepsiCo“s bottling operations in Sri Lanka, where the soft drinks market is estimated at about INR 1,200 crore and has annual growth of more than 30%. The Jaipuria family entered the bottling business in the 1960s under the late family patriarch CL Jaipuria as a bottler of Coca-Cola. While RJ Corp“s bottling operations are under Varun Beverages, the restaurants (KFC, Pizza Hut, Costa Coffee) and retail ventures (Disney Artist) are consolidated under Devyani International. Close to 40% of RJ Corp“s business comes from PepsiCo. It“s bound to grow, Jaipuria said.