PET project: Coca-Cola expands its footprint in Papua New Guinea


In spite of softer market conditions, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) continues to invest in Papua New Guinea, committing K80 million to the construction of a new bottle manufacturing plant in Lae. Business Advantage PNG talks to CCEP’s Sales and Commercial Director, Tim Solly, to find out more.

Rendered image of Coca-Cola’s new mega warehouse in Lae. Credit: CCEP.

A new K80 million PET [polyethylene terephthalate] bottling plant will be constructed in Germany before being shipped to PNG for installation at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners’ (CCEP) Lae headquarters, where it will commence producing around third quarter 2024.

‘The new investment is in response to our current constraints on PET production,’ CCEP Sales and Commercial Director, Tim Solly tells Business Advantage PNG.

‘We’re undersupplying the market currently and this will put some stability into our supply chain,’ advises Solly.

The move towards more PET bottles is partly a response to what Solly describes as ’softer’ conditions currently impacting PNG’s retail market.

‘Competition makes you focus and be better at what you do’

The funding follows an earlier K150 million investment made during the COVID pandemic on a new can production line, mega warehouse and office space in Lae.

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Recycling scheme

While the new PET facility allows for greater production flexibility, PET bottles themselves present a growing waste challenge in PNG.

With that in mind, the company has just launched PNG’s first PET bottle collection and recycling scheme, with the ultimate goal of helping to collect one bottle for every bottle it sells across the country.

‘The scheme follows on the success of similar programs around the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Fiji,’ explains Solly.

‘Initially we will operate this in Port Moresby only, but we will seek to expand this around the country, and request support from our industry peers.’

Cola wars

Cola brands in local supermarket.

Coca-Cola display at a local POM supermarket. Credit: BAI

While an increasing number of competitor cola beverages have hit the market recently, Solly is keen to emphasise the benefits of competition.

‘Competition makes you focus and be better at what you do. This provides additional benefits to our customers and consumers and means we need to be one step ahead,’ he says.

‘When you become complacent, you stop investing. Since competition has been increasing, we’ve really rallied together as a team to work out how we can be the best and remain the best at what we are doing.’

During COVID, in 2021, CCEP acquired Coca-Cola Amatil and this acquisition made the newly enlarged CCEP the world’s largest Coke manufacturer by revenue.

In PNG the family of soft drink brands that are sold includes, Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Schweppes, Solo, Nature’s Own water, Minute Maid Juice as well as the very popular energy drink Bu Energy.

Bu is the only drink CCEP produces that is exclusive to PNG, which is only made and consumed across the country.


In common with other manufacturers, CCEP faces operational challenges in PNG.

Disruptions across the global supply chain, increasing security and law and order concerns, while aged internal infrastructure are creating challenges that every business needs to plan for.

Cost-of-living concerns, driven by inflation, are very real for people across PNG and are limiting the spending power people have.

Given this, economy-boosting projects like Papua LNG and Wafi-Golpu can’t come soon enough for Solly.

‘We need to get the different resource projects commencing activities quickly to stimulate cash-flow in the market, to help provide a boost to the local economy,’ he adds.

Unique position

Despite the challenges, Solly sees a lot of opportunity within PNG and due to the positive outlook on the future of the country.

As a result, CCEP has expressed interest ongoing infrastructure investment; building the capabilities of its workforce and supporting charitable ventures through partnerships where possible.

‘Through partnerships we are launching a PET plastic recycling scheme, and are supporting WASH [water, sanitation and hygiene] programs through our partnership with Water Aid PNG,’ says Solly.

‘We are providing sporting and community support as well through different donations that it makes around the country.’

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