Boycott of Coke, Pepsi in Tamil Nadu is good news for this Indian cola

Bovonto’s makers have been in the beverage business before India’s independence

#LATEST| The boycott of products from US-based beverage companies Coca-Cola and Pepsi in Tamil Nadu could be good news for one Indian beverage manufacturer. Made in Tamil Nadu and sold in stores in rural and urban areas of the state, this drink, called ‘Bovonto’, could get a major boost if the boycott turns out to be successful. Reports from the state suggest that many retailers are willingly obliging the traders’ bodies which have called for a ban on the sale of products manufactured by Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Bovonto is one of the several drinks manufactured by Kali Aerated Water Works Private Limited. This family-run business, established in 1916, is now being managed by the third and fourth generations of its founder PVSK Palani Appa Nadar, who hails from the same business community as Congress leader P Chidambaram.

While the ban on Nestle’s Maggi brand of noodles did help push Patanjali’s products aggressively in supermarkets, the scenario is different in the case of Bovonto. The makers of Bovonto have been a business family before independence and have conducted their business with the kind of modest ambition that is associated with industrialists from some southern states. Although a household name in Tamil Nadu, it is little known outside the state.


The company’s profit in 2015-16 was a little above two crore rupees on the back of revenues of Rs 160 crore. This is almost 10 times its revenues in 2013-14. Infact, the family-run beverage business was corporatised quite late with the incorporation of Kali Sparkling Water Private Limited in 2010. Another one called Kali Palaniunna Beverage Private Limited was incorporated in 2012. These two, along with Kali Aerated Water Works Private Limited, are involved in the production, marketing and sales of eight kinds of beverages that include among other things a rose water scented carbonated drink called Kalimark Panner and a variety of ginger beer also marketed under the Kalimark brand. But unarguably, the star of the stable and the main revenue driver is Bovonto.

The Boycott of Coke and Pepsi in Tamil Nadu could definitely be a great opportunity for the home-grown company to expand beyond its comfort zone which is confined to the state at the moment. Post-corporatisation, the company’s revenues have jumped tenfold but profits haven’t ballooned as much. That is where the boycott, if successful, could help the company desist the sheer dominance of Coke and Pepsi which control 80 per cent of the soft drinks market in India. | READ FULL STORY


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