Coca-Cola Co's Indian subsidiary has taken over the distribution network of two local companies' bottled water brands in a bid to increase the marketshare of its own Kinley label. The soft drink giant identified the two distributors as Thermax Culligan Water Technologies and Nuchem Weir.
Thermax supplies water in the western cities of Bombay and Pune, where the firm is based. Nuchem's brand is sold around the northern Indian city of Delhi, where that company is based.
Thermax and Nuchem will now use their plants to bottle 20-litre packs of Kinley, which Coke will supply to their existing customers, the Coke source said. He did not divulge further details of the arrangement.
Coke claims that it has about 12 per cent share of the bottled water market, now estimated to be worth Rs 600-1,000 crore in annual sales and growing at 25 per cent a year.
Thermax's brand accounts for 20 per cent of bulk sales, which comprise half the water market. Bulk sales refer to large containers of water supplied to offices and large institutions.
Many multinationals like PepsiCo, Nestle and Groupe Danone have entered the high-growth Indian water market in the face of slowing sales of their main products.
Coke's Kinley faces competition from Pepsi's Aquafina, Nestle's Pure Life and Bisleri, the biggest Indian brand which is owned by Parle Bisleri. French food giant, Danone is negotiating to buy a stake in Parle Bisleri.