PepsiCo announces $500 mn investment in India (Second Lead)

September 21st, 2008 - 7:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Gurgaon, Sep 21 (IANS) PepsiCo will invest $500 million in India over the next three years to triple the turnover out of one of the top five markets for the group by 2014, its chairperson and chief executive Indra Nooyi said here Sunday.The investment, towards capacity upgrades, infrastructure, research, new products development, environment sustainability and agriculture, will create 50,000 more direct and indirect jobs, the Chennai-born executive said at a press conference.

“As a tangible sign of our continued confidence in India, I am delighted to announce further investment of $500 million in the next three years,” she said in this outsourcing and software hub on the outskirts of the Indian capital.

“India is among the top five markets for PepsiCo and we remain extremely bullish on India,” the 52-year-old executive, recently ranked third-most powerful woman in the globe by Forbes magazine, added.

The beverages, snacks and cereals giant has invested $700 million since its entry into the country in 1989, employing 4,000 people directly and some 60,000 others indirectly.

PepsiCo executives, however, did not share the India-specific turnover.

Nooyi said her group will continue to introduce products in India that are developed specifically by its team - like Kurkure - as also from its wide global portfolio.

“The Quaker platform is not yet in India in full glory,” she said about one such brand that will be pushed in India, and which she was instrumental in helping PepsiCo acquire a few years ago.

“Tea is another area,” she added.

Nooyi, here to chair PepsiCo’s first ever meeting of its executive committee in India among 26 leaders, also announced a pilot project to help the country wipe out poverty and hunger, as part of the UN Millennium Development Goals for 2015.

“Millions of people - here in India and elsewhere - suffer major deficiencies of key micronutrients such as iron, Vitamin A and zinc which lead to serious health problems,” said Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo’s chief scientific officer.

“PeosiCo is working toward developing nutritious fortified products to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in select developing countries to address the huge challenge of malnutrition among the poor, leveraging its core competencies.”

Nooyi also spoke about the various initiatives PepsiCo has initiated in India, especially in the area of water conservation and farming, where it helps some 22,000 farmers with crop diversification and agriculture sustainability.

“We also started an initiative on water balance in 2003. This will help us save more water than the total water we use in our beverages,” she said adding that in three years the target was to save 2.5 billion litres of water.

In this regard, she mentioned about PepsiCo’s direct seeding programme in India and said it was helping farmers save 30 percent water. “If half the farmers use this technique, it will equal all of India’s industrial water usage.”

PepsiCo vice chairman Mike White, who also shared the dais with Nooyi, added that his group’s water balance strategy in India covered innovative reuse and recycling techniques, such as water recovery equipment and rainwater harvesting.

He said PepsiCo Foundation, which is a philanthropic arm of the company, has a commitment to invest $15 million for providing safe water. “This commitment is focused on bringing safe water to those in need, including in India.”

According to Nooyi, the meeting of the executive committee, comprising 27 top business leaders from the group’s global operations is intended to gain a much better understanding of India, its history, polity, culture and cuisine.

Besides Nooyi, White and Khan, the team includes general counsel Larry Thompson, PepsiCo UK president Salman Amin, international president for South Asia, Middle East and Africa Saad Abdul-Latif and president for Europe Zein Addalla.

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