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NZ energy drink continues international push

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 6th July 2000

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Frucor's foray into the European energy drinks market is gathering momentum.

The company has just announced plans to introduce its "V" beverage to the Irish market, locking horns there with the current energy drink best-seller, Red Bull.

Red Bull is also number one in the UK but Frucor is tackling the beast there as well.

"V" was officially launched in the UK at the start of May, and a major advertising push began last weekend both on TV and in cinemas and will run until September.

The energy drinks market in Britain is estimated at NZ$1 billion, while the thirst for the drinks in Ireland is believed to be worth NZ$119 million.

"V" already has 60% of the energy drinks market in Australia and New Zealand.

As part of the Irish launch and European expansion plans, Frucor's former general sales manager Ray Nicolls has been appointed GM, UK and Europe.

Till now New Zealand staff have been working on secondment in the UK, but Frucor's managing director, Mark Cowsill, says the company eventually plans to have a team of up to five staff based in London.

He says Mr Nicoll's appointment is a new position and will help ensure the "V" launch is successful in both the UK and Ireland.

Mr Nicolls will also be charged with looking elsewhere in Europe for market share. Germany and Austria - Red Bull's home - in particular are target markets because of the popularity of energy drinks in those two countries.

On the other side of the globe, the company also appears to have shrugged off distribution difficulties in its South African market.

Frucor terminated its agreement with a distribution partner there late last year, and Mr Cowsill admits that cost the company some market share.

But he says the chain has been rebuilt and is working well again.

Meanwhile he says the company has been busy back home integrating the Pepsi range of drinks with Frucor's other products.

Frucor purchased the Pepsi franchise from Lion Nathan in November 1999.

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