Coca-Cola withdrawal from Lithuania ‘to do with market size, not Labour Code’ – president’s adviser

“One of the most prominent factors is the market factor. Companies optimize their operations and look at where to manufacture their products in the region for the local market. No doubt, Poland has a competitive edge over us in this respect,” Mindaugas Lingė said on Žinių Radijas on Tuesday.

The American soft drinks manufacturer announced last week that it was closing its plant in Alytus, southern Lithuania, by late November. About 80 employees of the factory are losing their jobs.

“Another thing is that investors look for highly specialized workforce and if there is a lack of these specialists in the market, this is a factor for withdrawing,” he said.

The presidential advisor does not link Coca-Cola’s decision to Lithuania’s failure to adopt a new Labour Code, noting that the soft drinks manufacturer moved production from Estonia in 2010, a year after the country liberalized labour relations.

“We are talking about a complex [of reasons] and this is a signal and a bell for Lithuania, the government and its policies,” he added.

Earlier this year, Estrella Baltics, a potato chips producer owned by Intersnack Group, and Suslavičius-Felix, a Lithuanian sauce and ketchup maker that is part of the Norwegian-owned Orkla Group, also announced their plans to pull out of Lithuania.

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