Coca-Cola plans presence in Myanmar
The beverage company announces a $3 million philanthropic grant and expects to make significant investments in the country over the next few years.
Soft drink giant Coca-Cola (KO) is planning to return to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, one of only three countries in the world where the company does not currently do business.
It has been 60 years since Coca-Cola had any sort of presence in Myanmar, also known as Burma -- but officially called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. However, the beverage maker has applied for a general license to begin conducting business there.
Coca-Cola said in the press release that its "social efforts in Myanmar are in-line with the Company's long-standing commitment to support local communities in every market it serves."
CEO and chairman Muhtar Kent added: "[t]he Coca-Cola Company has always stood for optimism at times of change and progress around the world. From the fall of the Berlin Wall to the establishment of normal U.S. relations with Vietnam to the positive changes we are seeing today in Myanmar, Coca-Cola has proudly been there to refresh, invest, partner and bring hope for a better tomorrow."
Despite the fact that Myanmar is a resource-rich country, its economy is one of the least developed in the world. Reports of human violations include child labor, human trafficking and a lack of freedom of speech. In addition, the country's western state has recently been rocked by ethnic violence, prompting a state of emergency.
However, Coca-Cola does business in many countries with similar issues, and the company would see its arrival in a new territory as a coup.
Coca-Cola intends to initially ship products to neighboring countries while local business ties are established. It has also pledged a $3 million grant for women's economic programs in the country.
There have been no reports that Coca-Cola plans to make similar moves into Cuba or North Korea, the other two countries where it does not do business.
Shares of Coca-Cola closed Friday up 0.46% at $76.09, but are down slightly Monday.
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