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Nooyi rues lingering effects of demonetisation on PepsiCo business

February 17, 2017 11:44 IST

Stating that implementation of the demonetisation policy had its "share of challenges", Nooyi hoped that things will return to normal by the second quarter.

The demonetisation drive had a "significant impact" on the company's business in India in the last quarter of 2016 and there are still "lingering effects" of it, PepsiCo's India-born CEO Indra Nooyi has said.

"On demonetisation, across the board for pretty much all of industry, and CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) in particular because it hit the individual retailer significantly, demonetisation had a significant impact on our India business in Q4," Nooyi said during an earnings call for Pepsi's fourth quarter that ended on December 2016.

Responding to a question during the call on February 15 on whether demonetisation had any impact on Pepsi's beverage or snack business, Nooyi said there are still some "lingering effects" from the Indian government's decision to withdraw high-value banknotes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 from circulation, noting that she is "not sure we are totally out of the woods".

Nooyi, 61, said demonetisation was a "massive change" since about 80 per cent of the currency in circulation in the country was no longer legal tender.

She added that implementation of the policy too had its "share of challenges" but hoped that things will return to normal by the second quarter that will end in June this year.

"So our hope was that by the time Q2 rolls by we would be through the bulk of the demonetisation challenges and the new currency and the digital currency will be back in circulation and we will be back to retail activity coming back to normal," Nooyi said.

In November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had withdrawn from circulation the high-value currency notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 in a significant effort to curb black money.

PepsiCo reported net revenues of $19.51 billion in the last quarter of 2016, up five per cent from $18.58 billion in the same quarter in 2015.

Its net income however fell 18 pet cent to $1.40 billion in the quarter ended December 2016, as compared to $1.71 billion in the year-ago period.

On the outlook for the current year, Nooyi said the company expects "solid financial performance despite anticipated continued macroeconomic challenges."

Photograph: Reuters

Yoshita Singh in New York
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