PepsiCo makes big investment in India

Crate of Pepsi
Image caption PepsiCo says its investments in India have created more than 200,000 jobs

PepsiCo, the US food and drinks giant behind the Pepsi-Cola, Walkers Crisps and Tropicana brands, is to invest $5.5bn (£3.4bn) in India by 2020.

The company said it planned to expand the range of products it sells in the country, and increase its manufacturing and distribution capability.

India is one of PepsiCo's largest global markets.

Chief executive Indra Nooyi said: "India is a country with huge potential."

PepsiCo, which has net revenues of more than $65bn, said there would be "a particular focus on rural expansion", with investment in selling and delivery infrastructure and an expansion of its collaborative farming programme.

The company, which also owns the Quaker and Frito-Lay brands, estimates that the investment will create more than 100,000 jobs, to add to the 200,000 it says it has already helped create since first investing in the country in 1990.

Image caption PepsiCo boss Indra Nooyi says the investment could create 100,000 new jobs in India

Its Indian business currently generates about $159m in annual sales for the group.

"We've built a highly successful business in India over the course of many years and we believe we've only scratched the surface of the long-term growth opportunities that exist for PepsiCo and our partners," said the Indian-born Ms Nooyi.

The government has been trying to encourage foreign direct investment by opening up the country to competition, in the teeth of sometimes fierce public opposition.

Marks and Spencer opened its largest Indian store in Mumbai on Monday, while Unilever has said it will increase its stake in Hindustan Unilever from 52% to as much as 75%.

India's annual economic growth rate has slowed to about 5%, its lowest rate for 10 years.

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