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Monster’s Nigeria launch tweaked to "respect" religion, culture - Coca-Cola HBC CEO

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The CEO for Coca-Cola HBC has said his company adjusted the launch of Monster energy drink in Nigeria to account for local religion and culture.

CCHBC chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic said Nigeria is a well-established market for energy drinks

CCHBC chief executive Zoran Bogdanovic said Nigeria is a well-established market for energy drinks

Monster was first rolled out in Lagos 12 months ago, but speaking to just-drinks today Zoran Bogdanovic said the African market required a slightly different approach compared to previous European launches. While those regions were given a "wider portfolio of activations", marketing in Nigeria focussed only on "music and celebrities", the CEO said.

"To a degree it is a similar approach to Europe," Bogdanovic explained. "But it respects also the consumer in Nigeria and the set-up in terms of religion and background."

Nigeria has a wide range of ethnic groups and religious backgrounds, however, Islam and Christianity are the major faiths. The country, which has a population of more than 180m, is CCHBC's biggest market in terms of consumer size, and it's only non-European one.

Speaking after the release of full-year results, Bogdanovic said the energy drinks market in Nigeria is well established and that there has been "significant" interest in Monster from CCHBC customers.

"The brand is still in the early stages, and this combined with a challenging and difficult operating environment means that it is too early to asses fully," Bogdanovic said. "We expect the brand will do well in Nigeria."

CCHBC volumes in Nigeria declined by 1% last year as the Coca-Cola bottler struggled against an ongoing devaluation in the Nigerian Naira. However, headwinds are expected to soften in 2018 and, together with a turnaround in Russia, Nigeria should help drive the next 12 months for CCHBC.

Turning to Russia, Bogdanovic said the hosting of the World Cup in the country this Summer will serve as a brand-building exercise rather than a volumes boost.

"We see these properties as a long-term investment... because the event lasts only a month," Bogdanovic said. "Does it play a certain role [in volumes]? Yes. But will we rely solely on it? No."

The Fifa World Cup kicks off in Moscow on 14 June. 

Bogdanovic, who was appointed CEO in December following the death of his predecessor, Dimitris Lois, delivered a strong set of FY results in his first quarterly presentation today. Currency-neutral sales jumped 6% as volumes grew by 2%.

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