Nigerian Senate has resolved the crisis between the managements of Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc and Rite Foods Limited, producers of Bigi Soft drinks.
The crisis was resolved through an Alternative Dispute Resolution method proposed by the Senate.
The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privilege and Public Petitions commended the two firms for embracing an amicable resolution of the matter.
The Chairman of the panel, Senator Patrick Akinyelure, stated this while presenting the report of his committee on the issue.
Akinyelure stated that the ADR had helped to save the soft drink sector from a “major hick-up and devastation that would have rocked the industry, nation and its people.”
The Senate panel had acted on a petition titled, ‘Petition from Bambo Adesanya, SAN on behalf of Rite Foods Limited against Seven-Up Bottling Company Plc and Zaid Maalouf for allegedly threatening the internal security of the nation and existence of Rite Foods Limited, Ososa, Ogun State’.
Akinyelure, in his report, noted that Rite Foods Limited had through their counsel, Bambo Adesanya, SAN, petitioned the Senate alleging that the management of Seven-Up Plc had plans to send it out of business.
The Senator, according to PUNCH, noted that the source of the matter was an e-mail published on Thursday, 28th November, 2019 by a Newspaper (names withheld), with the heading: “Seven-Up MD fires warning shot at Bigi drinks; vows to put disruption to bed.”
In his observations and findings, Akinyelure said that after listening to the petitioner and the respondent, and after studying their written submissions, the panel noted as follows:
“That in the business world, competition was inevitable and could easily spark up deep sentiments at the slightest insinuation by a rival; that there was no gainsaying that both parties were rivals;
“That the sentiments could actually be true or imagined; that whatever they stood for, they must not be ignored;
“That this factor in as what informed the decision of the Committee to listen to the petitioner and respondent in a closed-door session so that their business secrets and whatever misgivings they had would not be exposed as these could end up ruining the business of both parties;
“That the actual cause of rift between Rite Foods Limited and 7-Up was the strong words contained in the e-mail where 7-Up vowed that ‘at the end of that war, it would become and curse for anyone to start its own brand in Nigeria,’ just as Rite Foods had; and
“That the Committee was glad after mediating between the two in a closed-door session that they amicably resolved to pursue their businesses adopting strategies that would give them a fair share of the market to do their business, and all fears were allayed.
“That after the two weeks set by the Senate Committee for amicable resolution of the issues raised in the petition between the two major players in the soft drink industry, both managements came up with common position of being satisfied with advice of the Senate to go all out henceforth and improve their marketing strategies to significantly compete favourably and increase their market share, in the interest of growing the economy of the nation.
“Based on the above observations, the Committee hereby recommends as follows:
“That the Senate do appreciate and commend the managements of 7-Up Bottling Company Plc and Rite Foods Limited for accepting an amicable resolution of the matter, through Alternative Dispute Resolution adopted by the Senate, thereby saving the Soft Drink Sector from a major hick-up and devastation that would have rocked the industry, nation and its people.
“That the Senate do strongly advise the Management of both Companies – 7-Up Bottling Company and Rites Foods Limited – to intensify efforts and improve their marketing strategies and techniques in order to achieve increase in their market share in the industry, thus leading to engagement of more Nigerians in their employment to boost the economy of the nation.”