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Riots, Protests Affect Businesses in India: Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey

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In a statement that the ruling dispensation might not appreciate, especially after the Delhi riots exposed the poor state of law and order situation in the national capital, Coca-Cola chief James Quincey has said “there will be some degree of problems’’ for businesses if there were disruptions in the society in the form of riots or protests.

He, however, tried to balance his statement by expressing that he hopes that India will resolve its issues in a democratic manner.

Responding to a question on whether the protests in India over the past few months against the Centre’s move to amend citizenship rules and the recent riots (in the capital) have impacted consumption, Quincey said: “If there are disruptions in the functioning of a society, there will be some degree of problems for all businesses.’’

However, he was quick to add that one of the biggest factors in favour of India is its democracy. “India is a vibrant democracy and it needs to work out what is going on. All of us are hopeful that things will get resolved in an appropriate democratic manner. We see a lot of long-term potential (in India) and one of the reasons is its democracy,’’ he said.

Quincey’s observations come at a time when India has become the fifth-largest market by volume for the company following the sale of one billion unit cases in 2019 even though the domestic economy is passing through a consumption-led slowdown.

Replying to a question on the impact of the coronavirus on its global operations, the Coca-Cola chief said the company was shielded from any short-term impact as it has a strong degree of localisation in every geography which imparted a resilience to its business. However, he pointed out that it would be a different story if the issue gets prolonged.