Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan to resume production in September

Tashkent, Uzbekistan, August 8
By Demir Azizov- Trend:

JV Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan Ltd. (Coca-Cola Ichimligi Uzbekiston) which stopped production in 2013 will resume it in September - early October this year, Uzpischeprom food industry association told Trend.

"At present, the joint venture is preparing for the release of products. As it is expected, Coca-Cola drinks will be available in September-October," the association`s representative said.

JV Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan Ltd. was established in 1993. Its founders were the Coca-Cola Export Corporation, ROZ Trading Ltd. and "Uzpischeprom" state association. Each of the participants owned 33.3 percent share in the joint venture.

ROZ Trading increased its share up to controlling package (55.055 percent) in the course of several transactions and the newly created ROZ Trading Uzbekistan, a wholly-owned "daughter" ROZ Trading became the fourth member of a joint venture with a share of 9.947 percent. Coca-Cola Export Corporation owned 32.998 percent by 2001, "Uzpischepromu" - 2 percent.

In 2001, the Economic Court of Uzbekistan declared illegal the transaction to increase the share ROZ Trading in the joint venture. The company has also been sued for breach of tax and currency legislation.

In April 2002, ROZ Trading Uzbekistan was declared bankrupt. The court decided to withdraw from ROZ Trading 23.416 percent share in the joint venture to repay the debt to the state.

In September 2003, "Uzpischeprom" and Coca-Cola Export Corporation signed an agreement on the joint venture and the new version of the charter, according to which "Uzpischeprom" owned 57.118 percent, Coca-Cola Export Corporation - 42.882 percent of shares.

In 2004, the State Property Committee of Uzbekistan sold shares of "Uzpischeprom" in the Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan JV to "Muzimpex", whose controlling package of shares was owned by Zeromax.

In 2010 the company Zeromax was declared bankrupt and its assets were arrested. However, the JV Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan Ltd., which is according to unconfirmed reports controlled by Uzbek President`s daughter Gulnara Karimova, continued to work.

In 2013, a group of managers of the JV Coca-Cola Bottlers Uzbekistan Ltd were arrested for financial irregularities, and the company ceased production.

In accordance with the government decision, the share of Zeromax GmbH (Switzerland) in the joint venture in the amount of 57.118 percent was donated to the center for management of the state assets under the State committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan on privatization, demonopolization and development of the competition.

Currently, the joint venture has three plants - in Tashkent, Namangan and Urgench. The total capacity of all the companies is 142 million liters of soft drinks per year.

Edited by CN

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