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Coca-Cola to invest another $2b in China
Updated: 2009-03-06 18:41

Coca-Cola Co, the world's largest soft drinks maker, said on Friday it will invest $2 billion in new plant and distribution infrastructure in the next three years in China.

The company would also speed up development to ensure products suit local taste, it said in a statement.

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The $2 billion investment comes in addition to the $2.4 billion already committed to Huiyuan Juice Group, a company spokesman said.

Asset prices have come down amid the global financial crisis, which triggered concerns that the Coca-Cola's takeover bid for Huiyuan may not go through. Huiyuan's share price, which edged up 0.66 percent on Friday, was traded a quarter below Coca-Cola's offer of HK$12.2 per share in the Hong Kong stock market.

But Huiyuan Juice, the country's top juice maker, said earlier this week it was not aware of any changes in Coca-Cola's bid for the company and said the US company would be obliged to make the offer if pre-conditions were met.

If the bid is successful, it would be the largest acquisition of a Chinese firm by a foreign rival. The deal is pending Chinese government approval.

"Our commitment and confidence in China never wavers," Muhtar Kent, president and CEO of Coca-Cola, said in the statement.

The company's largest innovation and technology center in Asia was opened in Shanghai on Friday. The $90 million centre was part of a three-year investment plan in China, it added.

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