ASHGABAT (TCA) — Coca-Cola Turkmenistan is on the brink of shutdown and has already closed down production at its manufacturing facilities located in Ashgabat, the independent foreign-based news website Chronicles of Turkmenistan reported on November 20.
Observers of Chronicles of Turkmenistan say that the reasons behind the company shutdown are difficulty with foreign currency conversion and the problems with importing drinks ingredients into Turkmenistan as well as the pressure by local business entities which are affiliated with the authorities.
Now only the remains of the drinks manufactured in Turkmenistan are available in the market. Due to the production shutdown, the price for a 1 liter of Coca-Cola increased from 4-5 to 8-9 manats.
Until recently, the Coca-Cola, Fanta, and Bonaqua drinks manufactured by the bottling plant have been popular with residents and generated good revenues to the company. In 2012 new equipment which allowed increasing the production volumes up to 88 million bottles was launched.
Coca-Cola Turkmenistan has been operating since 1998. The company was one of the official sponsors of the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games that were held in Ashgabat in September.
Tightly controlled Turkmenistan’s economy is struggling, with government revenues depleted due in part to unsuccessful energy deals and low world prices for natural gas, the country’s main export, RFE/RL’s Turkmen Service reported.
There have been shortages of staple foods in shops, and the government has decreased or abandoned subsidies on prices of household needs such as water, gas, and electricity.
The Turkmen national currency, the manat, fell abruptly on the black market in October, from 7.5 manats to 9 manats to the U.S. dollar. The fixed official rate has stood at 3.5 manats per dollar since 2015.