Coca-Cola to evaluate Siberian plant conversion
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co's Russian bottling partner will this month evaluate a proposal by the country's environmental watchdog to convert a doomed Siberian pulp mill into a bottling plant on the shore of Lake Baikal.
Coca-Cola HBC, which already owns and operates 14 plants in Russia, will send experts to the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill (BPPM) on January 21, environment agency RosPrirodNadzor said in a statement on Thursday.
Coca-Cola HBC spokeswoman Yana Guskova confirmed that company officials would visit the site at the end of January.
RosPrirodNadzor proposed in December that Coca-Cola HBC could redesign the pulp mill into a bottling plant, which would solve pollution problems without having to close the factory with the loss of jobs.
The pulp mill has for years been dumping waste into Lake Baikal, the world's largest body of fresh water, triggering protests from ecological groups.
In its statement, RosPrirodNadzor said company officials had informed the agency about their plans to visit the factory.
"RosPrirodNadzor will, from its side, support Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia and has already provided the company with information about BPPM," said the agency's deputy head, Oleg Mitvol.
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by David Holmes)