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Coke sues Swedish firm over Ukrainian imports

TT/David Landes · 13 Dec 2009, 16:37

Published: 13 Dec 2009 16:37 GMT+01:00

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In a suit filed in Stockholm District Court, Coca Cola is asking that Fammal AB, a beverage distributor based in Falkenberg in southwest Sweden, be prohibited from selling products under the Coke label which it claims don’t meet Coke’s standards for Sweden, the Hallands Nyheter newspaper reports.

According to the suit, Coke accuses Fammal of importing Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite from a manufacturer in the Ukraine which is only licenced to sell Coke products in the Ukraine.

Coke wants Fammal to stop putting Swedish labels on the Ukrainian-made beverage products and selling the products onward to Swedish wholesalers and distributors, and has asked the court to order the Fammal to pay 200,000 kronor ($28,000) in fines if it refuses to stop selling the Ukrainian-made products in Sweden.

Coke also wants Fammal to destroy any remaining supplies of imported soft drinks.

Story continues below…

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

18:40 December 13, 2009 by Jimmy
so coke is made differently in different countries??? I thought it was the same where ever it was made.

Different standards for different people
19:14 December 13, 2009 by Nemesis
A US company is suing a Swedish company for being capitalist.

This is interesting.

The hypocrisy is noted.
19:47 December 13, 2009 by kwys
Julmust is better than Coca Cola. :-)
19:52 December 13, 2009 by Nemesis
I prefer mjöd:)

Åbro is not to bad, guiness is good and when I get back to Belfast I wll have a harp:)
19:58 December 13, 2009 by calebian22

For example, in Israel, Coke has about twice the sugar as Coke sold in the US. Based on market research Coke found that the less sweet US version of Coke faired poorly with consumers. Only when the sugar was increased was Coke competitive.


It is not hypocrisy. It is a licensing issue. If you think that capitalism is synonymous with breach of contract than you need a better lexicon.
20:18 December 13, 2009 by Nemesis
@ calebian22


If there is breach of contract it is with the Ukranian company.

Thye are suing in the wrong country.
20:22 December 13, 2009 by lingonberrie
Sweden would be much better off by just banning that sugar poison all together, and a host of the other such obesity producing junk exported to Sweden, and to continue with that healthy housecleaning by shutting-down all of the likewise imported fast-food outlets that pollute Sweden.
20:47 December 13, 2009 by Nemesis
@ lingonberrie

For once I agree with you.
21:11 December 13, 2009 by moh

i don't think this has anything to do with the standard of the drink but has to do with the production cost which is much lower in ukrain.importing coke from ukrain is much much profitable than buying from the swedish coke company.
21:31 December 13, 2009 by americanska
@ lingonberrie

This may be true. Never the less, a liberals propensity to think it's ok to take away everyones freedom is astounding.
22:18 December 13, 2009 by BrittInSweden
@lingonberrie Ban fast food and soft drinks why? Sweden is already too health concious with lack of choice, removing items from the Swedish market just puts off foreign investment in the form of immigration.

You may not eat or drink the things you would like banned but it doesn't mean everyone doesn't like it.

@Nemesis Why should Coca Cola be sueing the Ukraine company? They are selling the drink to a customer. It is the Swedish company that is selling it on in the incorrect market.
01:33 December 14, 2009 by lingonberrie
I once held that the weak links in the chain were removed naturally but my thinking has evolved to the point that I now believe that the weak links are allowed to remain to act as the balance that soaks up the poison that the stronger links avoid, thus resulting in less of the poison in the available pool.

That would be a much better use of the weak links than simply allowing them to expire when they could serve a more valuable purpose.
01:45 December 14, 2009 by mkvgtired
Nemesis, and like the EU (home of many state owned monopolies) fining Intel $1.4 billion for monopolistic practices. Or the EU fining Microsoft. I guess a monopoly is only ok if it is owned by a European government. Hypocrisy also noted.

Also, one of the bedrocks of capitalism is the enforceability of contracts. Would it be ok for a company that bought a cheap Coke license that permitted it to sell Coke in Zimbabwe to start selling Coke in Japan? Obviously that would be a much more expensive license.
05:24 December 14, 2009 by wenddiver
How would you make a Burbon and Coke, if there was no Coca-Cola??? Ligonberrie, that really is the worst idea I have heard all year.

Maybe the US could grant refugees status to people escaping this Anti-Rock and Roller curtan that would settle across Scandinavia, and re-settle them in Las Vegas.

We would have to send in the CIA and Special Forces to help the Forces of Freedom set up underground factories to produce Whiskey/Burbon, Coca-Cola and Ice cubes.

Don't even joke about stuff like that it is as crazy as the Talliban banning the Minni-skirt.
06:30 December 14, 2009 by lingonberrie
I have no doubt that the CIA is operating in Sweden and that they are setting up things that would have you drinking straight shots of vodka for Frukost med brod were you privy to their machinations.

The bars and clubs that serve drinks mixed with coke et al, are not in the business of making money from coke, and they could simply refuse to sell the same item except for use in a mixed drink. In any event, anyone who frequents the bars and clubs who want coke aren't wanted as guests by the bars and clubs. Most high-end places are very crowded, and those non-drinking guests are taking up space and air that could be used by the spending guests.

Ideally, the most susceptible of those who are targeted for the Coke and Pepsi , et al, poisons do not yet frequent the clubs and bars.

But somehow, even you know all of this already.
06:54 December 14, 2009 by wenddiver
Burbon and Coke is one drink in the US. When you hear people in the movies order Jack and Coke, they are ordering Jack Daniels (Burbon)and Coca-cola mixed, Lingonberrie. Turkey and Coke is Wild Turkey (Burbon) and Coca-Cola mixed. Very popular in Vegas or the New York club scene.

The point is in the US, the reason Coke is so much ore popular than Pepsi, is not teenagers drinking it, it's used as the priary mixer in bar drinks.

Go in any bar in the US and the out of control will be drinking Burbon, Whiskey, Rum or Tequila. Coke is the preferred mixer for all of those, except Tequila. No teenagers needed.
07:58 December 14, 2009 by Keith #5083
oooh. I really want to join in the conspiracy theory game! I think the angels drop different quality water in the Ukraine that doesn't meet the EEC standards, so the CIA have this deal whereby former Soviet bloc countries don't get the same quality as we get.

Just one cynical little non-conspirational point: the article says the Swedish company "switches the labels". By this I guess it means that if we buy it in Sweden we are not being told it is Ukrainian. Since the main content is water and Ukraine does not exactly have the same anti-pollution standards as Sweden (not to mention Chernobyl) I think we ordinary, non-CIA, non-corporate folks kind of have a right to know it's coming from Ukraine. But then, maybe I'm just being silly.

But hey, who am I to blow against the anti-multinational, anti-capitalist wind????

However, for cleaning my bicycle chain it doesn't matter if it comes from Tmbuktu.....!
08:36 December 14, 2009 by Craptastical
FWIW, I did the tour of the Coca Cola building and it was fascinating. It was most fascinating to learn that each country or region has a Coca Cola made to tailor to the local tastes so that it sells better.

As far as Coca Cola suing the Swedish distributor... They have every right to sue them considering the cola imported from Ukraine is repackaged with Swedish labels as though it was produced in Sweden for the Swedish market. I don't think that they would have as much of a problem with it if it retained the Ukrainian labels, after all I see Arabic writing on some of the bottles sold in the smaller kiosks.
08:54 December 14, 2009 by peropaco
I also heard Fammal AB is planning to import from China recycled used condoms and sanitary pads. All in the best interest for the environment.
09:38 December 14, 2009 by Tennin
Coca-Cola tastes different in different countries. So far from my experience, the Coca-Cola in Japan has more carbonation and less sugar. While the American Coca-Cola is well I guess the original one since it's created there.

The Coca-Cola in Germany has a strange after taste in my opinion. The Dutch Coca-Cola is a little similar to the German one. While the Swedish Coca-Cola is less sugary and more carbonated than the American one, but more sugary and less carbonated than the American one. The Coca-Cola in Mexico is sweeter and flatter than the American one. Coca-Cola in S.Korea is less sweet and less carbonated than the Japanese one.

Different countries have different tastes.
11:31 December 14, 2009 by calebian22
@ Nemesis,

"According to the suit, Coke accuses Fammal of importing Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite from a manufacturer in the Ukraine which is only licenced to sell Coke products in the Ukraine."

Coke is probably in legal discussions with the Ukrainian company for it's contract breach but Fammal has imported it illegally into Sweden. There are licensed importers for Sweden which is certainly not news to Fammal. They did something illegal and are now paying the price.


What about julmust and that God-aweful sockerdricka? Those have a buttload of sugar in it too. Should Sweden ban that too, or are you talking only about bad things that Sweden imports?
12:09 December 14, 2009 by PolarBearKiit
@ Jimmy

Most coca cola i have personally tasted around some places in europe have always tasted diffrent..

In sweden its sweet ... In england is high with sugar & cherry,lime,lemon flavours (i miss those) In France the coca cola was disgusting it had hardly any suger which ment it just tasted like crap. In Germany the coca cola is also sweet ;) Germany bought is the best i have tasted so far.

And at the other people IT SHOULD NOT BE BAND. The company doesnt force you to put their product inside of your stomach they don't hold a gun to your head ! Most people do like it so it being banned is rediculas to be quite honast.

And the shop deserves to be sewed but i think also so does the Ukrainen company for even allowing their distrabuters to sell it to sweden its a fault on all tthree parts as Coca Cola only checked out and ive noticed Ukrainian coca cola in quite a few places not just in Sweden :)
12:57 December 14, 2009 by karex
I suspect that the trouble is importing and placing a Swedish label on a product that is manufactured elsewhere. I also suspect that if the same product were imported and sold as an import with its original label there would be nothing Coca Cola could do - just another iport.

Interesting the phrase that the product doesn't "...meet Coke's standards for the Swedish market" - the operative word here being standard. So, this means that Coke sells sub-standard products in other markets.

I'm convinced that the whole reason behind the lawsuit is that Coke is afraid to loose its Swedish customer base if their sh** products are sold here. So easy to solve: maintain the same quality level in all markets.

That doesn't mean differences in flavor. Coke does have slightly different flavors in different countries since it is made to suit local tastes. In this case Coke wouldn't be afraid to loose customers because Swedes would naturally prefer the version that they liked the most.
01:53 December 15, 2009 by Moshe
Coca Cola is protected by copy-right and a contract with Ukrainians. If you make a contract not to sell outside your country and you violate the contract, the owner has an obligation to sue.

Just as Cognac is only produced in specific areas of France and they have the copy right, the Sweds should they make a brandy and call it Cognac, the Sweds would be in violation of international copy-right laws.
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