SodaStream CEO: “We Won’t Give in to Terror”

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 5:26am

If SodaStream moves from the West Bank to the Negev, it will be for business reasons, not “financial terrorism,” from the BDS movement, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said this week.

Birnbaum, responding to media reports that the company may leave Mishor Adumim, stressed that neither BDS nor European boycotts against West Bank products will have any influence on the decision the company makes when it decides its next move in the next two months.

“The boycott is a nuisance, but does not cause serious financial damage,” he told The Marker this week. “We are not giving in to the boycott. We are Zionist.”

SodaStream has been targeted by the BDS for years, a campaign that intensified in 2014 when the companty introduced Hollywood A-list celebrity Scarlett Johansson as spokesperson. The company’s sales, however, have dropped in recent times and its stock prices have fallen a substantial 35% this year.

But according to The Times of Israel, the company’s fortunes are not related to the campaign against it.

The drop in sales has nothing to do with BDS activities, say analysts. Rather, SodaStream has been doing so well, pioneering a product that no American company even considered marketing in recent years, that some heavy-hitting competitors – among them Coca Cola – are getting into the business. Earlier this year, the soda giant bought a 10% interest in Keurig Green Mountain, known for its single-serve coffee makers and coffee capsules. But the company is planning to come out with its own cold drink system, similar to SodaStream’s – and the combined marketing might and market share of those two companies is scaring investors off SodaStream stock, according to analysts.

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The article also explains that a move to the Negev would make sense from a business perspective:

In a deal signed in 2012, SodaStream agreed to build a production plant in the newly established Idan Hanegev Industrial Zone, with an estimated cost of NIS 280 million ($78 million). The plant is set to employ about 1,000 people, according to Ministry of the Economy documents. In return, SodaStream is set to receive a 20% subsidy, worth as much as NIS 60 million (nearly $16 million). SodaStream has about 1,400 employees worldwide, 900 of whom work at Mishor Adumim – so to fulfill its obligations, the company would either have to nearly double its workforce or move it to the Negev.

Of course, these facts are unlikely to prevent the BDS movement from claiming victory if SodaStream ultimately decides to close its West Bank factory. After all, the BDS has been pushing for the move for years.

By the same token, the movement has been working to delegitimize Israel across the world for just as long. Does that make it responsible for the dramatic rise in global anti-Semitism ostensibly related to Israel taking place today?

Image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/ntr23

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Original article can be viewed at SodaStream CEO: “We Won’t Give in to Terror” on HonestReporting.

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