Pepsi makes profits on lower prices

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President Mnangagwa flanked by Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha ( right) and RJ Corp Group Head Technical Rajinder Bagga (centre) tour the pepsi plant during the official opening of Pepsi Zimbabwe in Harare yesterday. Picture by Justin Mutenda

Ishemunyoro Chingwere
Varun Beverages, producers of Pepsi products, has rapped local companies with a penchant to profiteer saying it is possible to do business in a socially responsible manner and still remain profitable.

The company’s senior executives made the remarks on Wednesday at the official commissioning of the $30 million plant in the capital by President Mnangagwa.

The remarks come in the wake of blatant profiteering tendencies by several local companies, whose prices are well above what is charged for the same products regionally and internationally.

The companies’ defence has largely bordered on claims that the cost of doing business locally is higher compared to other regional and international host countries.

The notion has, however, been dispelled by the Pepsi example who entered the local market with prices almost half of what was been charged by competition before rivals also started responding with price reductions.

Speaking at their beverages plant commissioning ceremony, general manager corporate affairs, Fungai Murahwa, said businesses can still remain profitable despite charging prices that are socially responsible.

“It is possible to do business in a genuinely socially responsible manner and still remain profitable,” said Murahwa.

“Who ever thought that a can of soft drinks could be sold at 50 cents in this country? Until we came in, it was rare to find a beverage for less than $1.

“Now following our entry into the market, prices have started tumbling down, competition is good for the economy and the biggest beneficiary is the consumer,” he said.

His sentiments were also echoed by the company’s (Varun Beverages chairman) Ravi Kant Jaipuria, who said businesses should not be driven by the desire to recoup ulterior profits, but by the need to make a positive impact in the communities that they operate in.

“Varun Beverages is a subsidiary of RJ Corp . . . . believes that ulterior profits is not the only motive but what barter can be achieved so that the process becomes most efficient and productive to the local masses it operates with and within,” said Jaipuria.

President Mnangagwa applauded the group for its choice to invest in Zimbabwe and the healthy competition it has brought in the beverages sector which he said will ultimately benefit the consumer.

“My Government is indeed confident that this production facility will deliver world class quality products at affordable prices as well as expand the beverage varieties available to consumers,” said the President.

“I am informed that other competing companies in the same industry have begun to reduce their prices. Very good,” he said.

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