ASIA – The world’s beverage giants are planning to invest in Pakistan with PepsiCo lining up US$1.2 billion in the next five years while Coca-Cola will further invest US$200 million in the coming two to three years, according to a statement from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s office.

A report by Arab News reveals that the developments were announced after executives from the two companies met with the Prime Minister.

PepsiCo’s delegation was led by Mike Spanos, CEO Pepsi Co Asia, Middle East, and North Africa while that from Coca-Cola company in Pakistan alongside Coca-Cola Içecek Turkey, was led by Orhun Kostem, Regional Director.

The new initiatives are poised to create jobs, grow industries and help government raise the needed revenues in country that is seeking to revive its economy from external investments.

For Pakistan, the investments are coming in when the country is just knowing political stability, and the Prime Minister pledged to support development of businesses.

The delegation addressed issues affecting the industry including a burden of taxes and illegally-acquired money which is hampering the industry’s growth.

“There is potential to double the production of beverages in the country from the current number to around 400 to 500 cases annually,” said Siraj Qasim Teli, Director of Pakistan Beverages (Pepsi Cola, Karachi, Hyderabad, and Quetta) and former president of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry KCCI.

The global companies are eying Pakistan which reports say has the growth potential with the consumer market comprising of 100 million people below the age of 30.

Both the companies are aiming to tap the growing potential of beverages while PepsiCo could be betting on the savoury snacking flair in the country.

Coca-Cola’s pledge is an addition to US$500 million it has already invested in the country.

Early last year, Coca-Cola expressed an interest in investing US$200 million in the country in a bid to expand the company’s production.

This was revealed by Coca Cola Beverages Pakistan Limited Group Director Public Affairs Atilla Yerlikaya, while visiting the Board of Investment (BoI).

The Group Director had indicated that the company planned to establish two new plants in Faisalabad and Islamabad.

Despite of the country’s fiscal position and terrorism dread, foreign companies are committing to expanding in Pakistan.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola enjoy more than 95% of the soft-drink market in Pakistan and their share is rising due to the youth’ preference for their drinks in the country.

Pakistan which has a population of 208 million people, is regarded to be the sixth-largest consumer market, a focus of major local and multinational corporation.