'Cola imbroglio caused Rs 300-cr revenue loss to Govt'

Updated on Aug 31, 2003 12:08 PM IST

While confusing consumers, the row has caused heavy revenue loss, Coca-Cola India and Pepsico said.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, New Delhi

The controversy over the pesticide levels in soft drinks has caused a revenue loss of Rs 300 crore to the Government in various taxes while creating an avoidable confusion in the minds of consumers, soft drink giants Coca-Cola India and Pepsico said on Sunday.

The two companies dismissed any idea of a rethink on their operations in the country in the face of the controversy generated after a report by an NGO stating that branded soft drinks contained higher levels of pesticides and asserted that Coke and Pepsi were established brand names worldwide.

According to industry estimates, Coke and Pepsi have a combined brand value of over 120 billion dollars.

Officials of the two companies said Governments might have lost as much as Rs 300 crore in terms of excise and other taxes directly from the sale of the soft drinks or activities like cold chains, bottles etc associated with this business.

"Our brand has resilience, equity, bonding and trust of consumers... As and when scientific truth is established about the safety of our products, this trust will see us through," Vice President of Coca-Cola India Sunil Gupta told PTI in an interview and added,  "Our commitment in India is long term."

"We are here to generate socio-economic surpluses. We are part of this country and have recently divested 49 per cent equity in Indian operations," he said while pointing out that the two US companies had generated employment to the tune of 120,000 with a combined investment of over two billion dollars in the soft drink industry.

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