Russian drinks maker eyes its chance as Coke exits

STORY: As Coca-Cola and Pepsi exit Russia, one local firm spies an opportunity.

Chernogolovka plans to fill the gap on store shelves.

Since May it’s been making its own cola to replace products from the big names.

Natalia Sakhnina is the firm’s director:

"Due to the possible exit of Western companies from Russia, we were, we are and will be the main Russian beverages producer. We hope to become the leader in the beverages market of the Russian Federation and we are working on it. We have significant ambitions. We want to get around 50 percent of Russian market”.

That market is worth around $9 billion.

Now Chernogolovka is ramping up production to meet demand.

It’s almost doubled output at one plant, and is working fast to build new facilities.

PepsiCo and Coca-Cola suspended production in Russia in March.

Now Chernogolovka may also benefit from demand at fast-food outlets.

It’s started supplying drinks to Russian outlets of Burger King and KFC.

Talks are also under way to supply Vkusno & tochka.

That’s what was McDonald’s - renamed after the burger chain sold its Russian operations to a local firm.

Now international sanctions mean some supply headaches for Chernogolovka.

But without western rivals, the firm says growth - and maybe even a stock market listing - are firmly on the agenda.

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