In the end, how easy is it for the Greek soft drinks companies to face the international competition coming from the two major powers of the global market, Coca-Cola and Pepsi?
The answer to this question seems to have several different aspects, however it does not cease to be a particularly interesting debate, which has developed among people in the market, given that there are currently three important forces of Greek interests with an established brand and strong prospects. The reason for Vikos who in recent years has made his entry into soft drinks with a particularly aggressive commercial policy in order to gain market shares from both traditional forces, Lux and EPSA.
As regards the case of EPSA, the recent sale of a majority stake by the Tsaoutou family to the SMERemediumCap fund, of Nikos Karamouzis, showed in many ways that the management and development of a seasonal main product such as soft drinks cannot be easy to be considered. EPSA, which faced consecutive loss-making financial years in recent years, found the way out it was looking for and the Karamouzis side invested in a very strong brand name, with resonance in the Greek market and prospects for further growth, if it manages to “straighten out” the company’s finances in the coming years years. In the case of Karamouzis, the fact that he keeps within the company with administrative duties Michalis and Penny Tsaoutou, the two siblings who until recently owned the majority of the company’s shares and who in any case know the soft drinks business better than many.
On the other hand, Lux, the three brothers Marlafekas, Giannis, Platonas and Kostas, is completely healthy and financially strong. However, despite the fact that it is in third place behind the two multinationals Coca-Cola and Pepsi, this does not necessarily guarantee it for life. The conditions in the market are particularly volatile and in fact it is not excluded that in this case we will see developments at some point. It is no secret that the shareholders of Lux, something Platon Marlafekas had previously admitted in the context of the Family Business Forum conference, have from time to time been concerned or looked for an investor to participate in their business.
Vikos, for his part, has a strong trump card. Or rather two. On the one hand, it is the biggest player in bottled water in Greece and therefore has the strongest network, while soft drinks are available in the same sales channels as water and are a completely complementary and possibly integral product of the category. On the other hand, however, the company also has very strong liquidity, which comes from the highest profit margins it obtains through the activity in the bottled sector, and is therefore able to finance intense promotional actions on the shelves and also to subsidize catering establishments where deemed necessary, in order to be set you up to promote his product.
However, the position of Green Cola after its merger with Zagori will also be of interest, where strong synergies can be created between the two companies in order to favor Green Cola, which succeeded before a few years to make the “breakout” in the market with strong branding, however the continuation in the domestic market at least was not what was expected. However, a large burden on the part of the executives of this particular company has now fallen abroad.
For its part, the Hellenic Dairies group, which has acquired Doumia and Kliafas, seeks with aggressive marketing and advertising to promote its product, investing several million euros in previous years and in the current period.
The bet that the Sarantis family has made here is not at all easy, where they may be the leader in the dairy industry, but soft drinks are a completely different business with different balances and a completely different way of operating, where a large percentage of success is not judged in the “war” of the milk zone as in the main business of the group, but in the “war” of the shelf and the refrigerator, where the most skilled or rather the most powerful, seems to win in the end.