Coca Cola Invests $20m in Bottling Plant in Gaza

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01 Dec 2016 --- Coca-Cola has invested $20m in a bottling plant in Gaza, marking its first investment in a bottling plant in the region which is beset by conflict. Coca-Cola and its bottling partner, the National Beverage Company (NBC), inaugurated the plant this week, which will eventually employ over 270 people in a region where the bulk of its 2m residents are supported by some type of humanitarian aid.

NBC began bottling Coca-Cola in 1998 and Coke will be distributed through 4,000 outlets across Gaza, delivered by 18 branded trucks.

The new bottling plant spans more than 15,000 square meters and contains a single bottling line capable of filling up to 36,000 returnable glass bottles per hour with Coca-Cola sparkling beverages.

Fizzy drinks are popular in the region, as there is a ban on drinking alcohol under its Islamist leadership.

“National Beverage Company and Coca-Cola share great pride in having been part of the fabric of Palestinian communities for almost 18 years and our new Gaza plant shows our ongoing commitment to investing in and supporting progress in communities around the world," said Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company. "We believe that strong businesses can enable strong communities and we are delighted to welcome new Gazan employees, distributors and retailers to our Coca-Cola system.”

Zahi Khouri, founder and chairman of NBC, added, “Ever since NBC first began operations, we have been firmly committed to building a successful Palestinian business that can create employment opportunities, support the national economy and demonstrate the great capabilities of our region while serving products of the very highest quality. The opening of our first Gaza plant is an important milestone on this journey.”

NBC executives and leaders from the Palestinian business community and civil society attended the inauguration ceremony.

To coincide with the inauguration, the Coca-Cola Foundation and NBC also officially announced a new $1.3 million charitable initiative that will be implemented by the global organization Mercy Corps and is designed to address two regional development challenges – ensuring access to clean drinking water and creating employment opportunities for Palestinian youth.

Gaza has been riven by conflict between the Hamas terrorist group and Israel in recent years and the enclave has been heavily bombarded. Israel oversees the flow of goods, including food and drinks, into the territory, so as to ensure that weapons and other military equipment do not pass into Gaza. This means that NBC has to import its drinks from plants in the West Bank.

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