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COCA-COLA Singapore Beverages (CCSB) will wind down manufacturing operations at its bottling plant in Tuas, with full closure slated for February next year, but the firm has also committed to investing over US$100 million in Singapore over the next five years.
"To better position itself for future growth, Coca-Cola is adjusting its strategy in Singapore to focus on high-value added services such as new technologies, innovation and research," said Stephen Lusk, chief executive of Coca-Cola Singapore Beverages & Coca-Cola Bottlers Malaysia.
About 200 employees will be affected by the closure of the bottling plant in Singapore. Coca-Cola will be moving its bottling plant operations to Malaysia.
CCSB, the Employment and Employability Institute (E2i) and the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU) will be working closely with the affected employees, who will be offered "competitive severance packages" as well as "support services" to transition into new positions.
CCSB will continue to employ some 450 people while retaining its current product portfolio, its sizeable sales force, and its sales and marketing, warehousing, distribution, procurement, human resources, finance/administration, legal and IT functions, it said in a statement on Monday. Coca-Cola will also continue to employ about 300 people across its other operations in Singapore.
Kevin Lai, executive director of consumer businesses of the Singapore Economic Development Board, said: "Singapore continues to be one of Asia's leading locations for consumer business companies and we are confident that Singapore remains a strategic business location for Coca-Cola. This is demonstrated by their commitment to invest in high-value added activities here, such as expanding their state-of-the-art concentrate plant, which supplies beverage concentrate to key markets throughout Asia-Pacific. The government remains committed to working with companies in this industry, to continually invest in R&D, technology adoption and skills training."
Singapore's consumer business industry is expected to create 2,400 jobs and S$2.1 billion of value added from 2014 to 2016.
"When FDAWU was informed of Coca-Cola's plans, it quickly commenced discussions with CCSB to ensure fair compensation and treatment for the affected employees," said Tan Hock Soon, general secretary of FDAWU. "CCSB was committed to this, and has been open to the union's requests and suggestions. The company has fulfilled the terms of retrenchment beyond industry norms."