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Sales and profits up for Dubai Refreshments Company in 2005

Pepsi's hold of Dubai, Sharjah and Northern Emirates became even stronger in 2005 with the soft drink brand capturing a staggering 70 per cent market share in the territory.

Dubai Refreshments Company, the sole franchisee and distributor for PepsiCo brands in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates, also reported substantial growth in sales and profits at its AGM in Dubai yesterday.

In the financial year ending December 31, 2005, DRC achieved a 17.65 per cent increase in net sales - and sales of raw cases increased by 3.4 million over 2004.

DRC profits for the year beat the expected total of AED22 million, company officials said.

Alan Salem, General Manager of Dubai Refreshments Company, said:

'To cross 70 per cent market share is significant, and it puts even more distance between us and the nearest competition. Dubai Refreshments has expanded its team, capability and portfolio - and delivered greater efficiencies to make the company more competitive in the years ahead.'

DRC profits would have been higher but for substantial investments in human resources, systems and technology, and hikes in the cost of raw materials.

DRC successfully completed the implementation of a company-wide ERP system and HHTs (hand-held terminals) for distribution teams. DRC also acquired distribution rights for Lipton's Ice Tea.

The success of Aquafina, PepsiCo's bottled water brand, has contributed significantly to overall volume growth, DRC management said.

Salem added: 'Aquafina has positioned itself to lead the bottled water segment, and sales of the brand were up 73 per cent in the local market last year. Sales of carbonated soft drinks were up 21 per cent, and the sales team won several major projects, and many large accounts such as Chillis and Century Cinemas.'

DRC's investment in operations saw its fleet customer service team double in size. In 2005, 74 new vehicles were added. A total of 160 new employees joined the company last year.

Salem said: 'We have made across the board investments to realise our growth ambitions while maintaining our commitment to world-class quality. DRC received the highest quality rating from PepsiCo for its bottlers in the Gulf, and we aim to build on this performance in 2006.'

DRC has led Dubai's carbonated soft drink industry since 1959. It began as a limited liability company before becoming a public shareholding company in 1994. It has been the sole franchisee and distributor for PepsiCo since 1962. DRC's product portfolio includes Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, 7UP, Diet 7UP, Mountain Dew, Mirinda Orange, Mirinda Green Apple, Mirinda Citrus, Shani, Evervess Soda, Evervess Tonic, Evervess Ginger Ale, Lipton's Ice Tea and Aquafina pure drinking water.



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