Bahrain soft drinks probe to go public
Manama, February 28, 2010
Bahrain will make public the outcome of a probe into why two soft drinks giants raised their prices here by 50 per cent, officials have revealed.
Industry and Commerce Ministry officials have been studying Coca Cola and Pepsi's accounts, to see if the increase was justified.
Our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN) had reported last month that both companies hade agreed to fully co-operate and share necessary details with the government, to prove that the price rise was unavoidable
The minister, Dr Hassan Fakhro, asked them to submit their financial accounts for study on January 14.
The increase brought the prices of all carbonated soft drinks produced by the firms to 150 fils, up from 100 fils per regular can or bottle.
The price of the 2.25-litre 'family bottle' also increased from 400 fils to 500 fils.
'Upon receiving the news over the increase of prices of carbonated soft drinks from 100 to 150 fils, the ministry has taken the initiative to call for an urgent meeting with the concerned companies for which most of them attended to discuss the reasons,' said a statement.
'They claim that they did not change the prices for the last 30 years despite the increase of raw materials and other manufacturing costs.
'They added that the increase of carbonated soft drinks happened in the GCC countries as well.
'They claim that they are losing at the moment.
'The ministry asked for their financial accounts for analysis.
'Moreover, the ministry would like to clarify that it doesn't interfere with prices - only if there is a cartel, fraud, monopoly, or if there is an increase by some outlets selling a product subsidised by the government.
'Meanwhile, the ministry is analysing the financial accounts of the companies and once it is completed, the ministry will inform the consumers in Bahrain of the results.'
Coca-Cola Middle East public affairs and communications manager Antoine Tayyar said earlier they were co-operating with the ministry, which they believed wouldl take into consideration the reasons behind the price 'adjustment'.
Pepsi bottler Ahmadi Industries general manager Ali Ahmadi also said Pepsi was committed to full co-operation with the government.
Coca Cola and Pepsi have defended a 50 per cent increase in the price of some of their most popular drinks.
All carbonated soft drinks produced by the firms were affected by the price rise.
This includes several Pepsi products and other popular brands it manufactures such as Mirinda, 7-UP and Mountain Dew.
Several Coca Cola products and other brands, including Fanta, Sprite and Canada Dry, also went up.-TradeArabia News Service