26 Aug 2022 19:45

Coca-Cola to sell Dobry Cola beverage in Russia, local entity becomes Multon Partners

MOSCOW. Aug 26 (Interfax) - Coca-Cola HBC will sell a beverage in Russia under the Dobry Cola brand, while the company's division in Russia has been renamed Multon Partners LLC. However, it will have to compete with Russian producers, who, amid the departure of the global giant, have begun bottling their own "cola drinks."

"We received a notice from Coca-Cola that the drink will now be called Dobry Cola, the one that used to be Coca-Cola. We will try to sell it," Mikhail Goncharov, founder of the Teremok fast food chain, said at a press conference Friday.

He suggested that "sales of this cola" would build on the prominence of Dobry brand juices, which are produced by the Multon company, owned by Coca-Cola.

The juice brand is now also used in the name of the company's Russian division. According to the Unified State Register of Legal Entities, Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia has been renamed to Multon Partners.

Interfax has yet to obtain comment from the company.

Zoran Bogdanovic, CEO of Coca-Cola HBC (bottler of The Coca-Cola Company), said in a statement to company employees published in early August that the company is making significant changes to its Russian operations in response to the ongoing geopolitical crisis. "In close cooperation with the Coca-Cola Company, we have discontinued all production and sales of the company's brands in Russia. There are no plans to reintroduce Coca-Cola Company brands or products in any format," he wrote.

The division in Russia will now be much smaller. Multon Partners will focus on production and sales of existing local brands - "Dobry", "Rich" and "My Family", while feedstock will be purchased on the domestic market. It will be managed locally, the statement indicates.

As reported, on March 8 Coca-Cola HBC stopped placing orders for concentrate for drinks produced under Coca-Cola Co. brands and is working with it to implement its strategy to stop doing business in the Russian market. Furthermore, Coca-Cola HBC has suspended its investments in Russia. On Aug. 11, it began consolidating the Moulton juice producer, which it previously owned jointly with Coca-Cola.

Coca-Cola HBC owns 10 soft drink and juice plants in Russia. In 2021, Coca-Cola HBC increased its sales in Russia by 18.3%, to 373.3 million boxes (one box contains about 5.7 liters, which means sales in Russia amounted to about 2.1 billion liters).

Meanwhile, Goncharov said, after the departure of Coca-Cola, "cola-based drinks" began to appear on the market. "Restaurants don't even have the ability to display the entire lineup. Manufacturers are now going to be competing very hard with each other," he said. Even so, he did not rule out that Teremok will also release its own cola. "We are also considering whether it would be profitable for us to develop a cola-based Teremok drink, although traditional drinks - kvass and mors - sell well. But maybe we'll also launch our own cola," Goncharov said.

As was reported, the Ochakovo beer and soft drink plant recently announced that in order to replace the volume of brands that left the market, it had increased bottling of soft drinks under the CoolCola, Fancy and Street brands.