* Coke to transfer production from Nidan unit to Multon
* Some of Nidan's 1,000 staff to be offered jobs at Multon
* Russian juice market fell 6 pct in 9 mths of 2013 -Nielsen
* Coca-Cola, PepsiCo facing competition from local brands
(Recasts, adds details, market data)
By Olga Sichkar and Maria Kiselyova
MOSCOW, May 8 Coca-Cola Co is closing two
of its four fruit juice plants in Russia in response to falling
demand, putting at risk hundreds of jobs in a business which the
U.S. company had bought for $276 million four years ago.
The company will close the two plants run by its Nidan unit
on June 1 and transfer some of their capacity to the other juice
unit, Multon, before the year-end, spokesman Vladimir Kravtsov
said on Thursday.
The plants being closed are located in Novosibirsk in
Siberia and in the Moscow region. Some of the unit's 1,000 staff
will be offered jobs at Multon, Kravtsov added.
"The juice market fell by 5 percent last year and the
performance of Nidan was worse than the market," said Kravtsov,
adding the company had been considering the move for some time
and made the closure decision at the end of last year.
Coca-Cola bought Nidan, then the fourth-biggest juice maker
in Russia, in 2010. Multon, which it acquired in 2005, has two
plants with a combined production capacity of more than 790
million litres a year.
The Russian juice market fell by 6 percent year-on-year in
volume terms in January-September 2013, according to market
researchers Nielsen. In addition to falling market volumes,
Coca-Cola and its rival PepsiCo are faced with increased
competition from local Russian brands.
The decision also coincides with an economic slowdown in
Russia. Having started to shrink in the first quarter this year,
the economy is on the brink of recession, in large part because
of capital outflows and declining investments resulting from
Moscow's involvement in the Ukraine crisis.
Based on Euromonitor data, Coca-Cola had a 23.5 percent
share of the Russian juice market, worth an estimated $4.6
billion in 2013, while PepsiCo had 35.5 percent.
That was down from 24.4 percent and 37.2 percent
respectively in 2012, while local producers Sady Pridonya,
Sunfruit-Trade as well as France's Lactalis all increased their
market shares last year.
Kravtsov said Nidan accounted for around one third of
Coca-Cola's juice production in Russia.
($1 = 34.9030 Russian Roubles)
(Reporting by Olga Sichkar and Maria Kiselyova; Editing by