Sodastream, the Israeli maker of fizzy drink machines, will close its West Bank factory after coming under intense pressure from pro-Palestine groups.
The company said the decision to pull out of Mishor Adumim - an industrial site located in the occupied West Bank- is "purely commercial" as part of a new growth plan following a string of disappointing financial results and poor sales.
However, boycott calls have intensified over the past year with pro-Palestine groups including the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and Interfaith Boycott Coalition urging consumers to ditch Sodastream on the grounds that its presence in the West Bank violates the rights of Palestine.
Sodastream was hit a torrent of negative publicity after Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson cut ties with Oxfam to become Sodastream's "global ambassador" earlier this year. The actress cited "fundamental differences of opinion" for her decision to leave the charity group, which opposes all trade from Israeli settlements, after eight years.
In an interview with The Independent in February, coinciding with the launch of its Super Bowl commercial, chief executive Daniel Birnbaum argued both Sodastream and Johansson were being "demonised" by the media. Birnbaum insisted company has no political agenda and provides equal opportunities for all employees, many of who are Palestinian.
Yesterday, SodaStream said its third-quarter revenue fell 13 per cent to $125.9 million from $144.6 million a year earlier. Net income plunged 42 per cent to $9.46 million from $16.40 million a year earlier. Sales in the US- its main market- fell 41 per cent for the three months ending September.
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