PepsiCo reaches deal to sell drinks in Myanmar

Thu Aug 9, 2012 8:09am EDT

Bottles of Pepsi cola are seen in a display at PepsiCo's 2010 Investor Meeting event in New York, March 22, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Bottles of Pepsi cola are seen in a display at PepsiCo's 2010 Investor Meeting event in New York, March 22, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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(Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc (PEP.N) said on Thursday it has signed a distribution agreement to sell some of its drinks in Myanmar with Diamond Star Co Ltd, which has been doing business in the Southeast Asian country for nearly 50 years.

Under the terms of the agreement, Diamond Star -- one of the largest packaged-goods distributors in Myanmar -- has exclusive rights to import, sell and distribute Pepsi-Cola, 7-Up and Mirinda.

The company is buying and importing the drinks from PepsiCo's Vietnam operations.

PepsiCo also said it plans to evaluate other opportunities in Myanmar, including the potential for local manufacturing and investing in agricultural development.

Myanmar, once known as Burma, began emerging last year from decades of isolation when its long-time military dictator stepped aside and a quasi-civilian government took over.

The new government has started overhauling the economy, easing media censorship, legalizing trade unions and protests and freeing political prisoners.

The United States has responded by easing some sanctions, starting with a decision last month to allow U.S. companies to invest in Myanmar and provide financial services there.

PepsiCo, which last did business there in 1997, said its drinks are now available to consumers in parts of Myanmar and that availability will increase in the coming weeks.

Rival Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) said in June that it planned to operate in Myanmar as soon as the U.S. government allowed it.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Dale Hudson)

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