Blog: Chris MercerCoca-Cola Enterprises Pulls Back

Chris Mercer | 9 September 2011

Coca-Cola Enterprises has stepped back from the eye of a political storm in France.

The bottler has reinstated its plan to invest EUR17m US$24m) in a bottling plant near Marseille, only 24 hours after suspending it. Such was the political backlash from what the company has termed a "communication error", the president of Coca-Cola Enteprises in Europe, Hubert Patricot, was forced to explain himself on French television.

Following yesterday's announcement, some French politicians accused the group of holding France to ransom, while labour minister Xavier Bertrand also expressed his dismay.

Coca-Cola moved quickly to patch up relations, even though Patricot said that the company still isn't pleased at all about the planned tax hike on added-sugar soft drinks.

All very confusing. It's a moment to forget for Coke - either it has bowed to political pressure, or it got its communications wrong. Whichever the reason, the episode shows that relations between French officials and Coke are as highly-strung as ever.


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