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Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc.

Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc.

1 Coca-Cola Plaza Northwest
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
(404) 676-6792

Fax: (404) 676-6792

Public Company
Incorporated: 1986
Employees: 26,000
Sales: $5.46 billion
Stock Exchanges: New York Pacific Boston Midwest
Cincinnati Philadelphia
SICs: 2086 Bottled & Canned Soft Drinks

The largest bottling group owned by The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc. produces, markets, and distributes the carbonated soft drinks of its 49 percent owner, The Coca-Cola Company. During the mid-1990s, Coca-Cola Enterprises sold beverages in 38 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Netherlands.

Among the collection of bottling operations composing Coca-Cola Enterprises during the 1990s, the oldest traced its roots back to 1889, when one of the most incredible and profitable transactions in U.S. business history occurred. That year, three years after the first Coca-Cola drink mixture was concocted, two lawyers from Chattanooga, Tennessee, bought the exclusive rights to sell Americas newest beverage, Coca-Cola, in bottles. For what retrospectively ranks as one of the biggest bargains in the annals of business history, the two lawyers together paid $1 for Coca-Colas exclusive bottling rights, giving the investors what would a century later evolve into a multi-billion dollar enterprise for having paid two quarters apiece.

Based on the actions the two entrepreneurs took immediately after investing their $1, they did have some idea of the fortune they had just acquired. With the help of financier John T. Lupton, the two lawyers divided the country into small territories and sold regional rights of the sale of Coca-Cola to other entrepreneurs, thus beginning the development of an intricate and massive network of Coca-Cola bottlers.

The franchising of Coca-Cola bottling operations, superintended by John T. Lupton, made fortunes for many independent bottlers, most notably for Lupton himself and his heirs, as the web of bottling operations spread across the country, embracing every corner of the nation. For The Coca-Cola Company, the relationship with its bottlers was a profitable one: The company marketed its product, then sold Coca-Cola concentrate to bottlers who performed the less profitable task of sweetening and carbonating the syrup, packaging it, then distributing it to retailers. Working as such, the process of making and selling Coca-Cola grew into an enormous business, profiting The Coca-Cola Company and, to a lesser extent, the independent, regionally-based Coca-Cola bottlers. The Coca-Cola empire functioned in this manner for nearly the next century.

Although The Coca-Cola Company maintained some ownership of the bottling of its product, an overwhelming majority of the bottling of Coca-Cola was performed by the independent bottlers who were first ceded bottling rights by Lupton and the two Chattanooga lawyers. In 1944, the predecessor to the Coca-Cola Enterprises company that operated during the 1990s was formed as a wholly owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company to manage the small portion of bottling operations directly owned by its parent company. This company was deactivated in 1970, then reactivated 16 years later, in 1986, when almost coincidental developments forced The Coca-Cola Company to jump into the bottling business in an aggressive manner. The result was Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., a nearly $3 billion bottling operation comprising a majority of the independent bottling companies that had packaged and distributed Coca-Cola in cans and bottles for more than the previous half century.

Truly a modern creation despite its links to 1944 and 1899, Coca-Cola Enterprises was formed as more of solution to developments in the soft drink industry that begged a response than as a strategic maneuver effected by The Coca-Cola Company. The origins of Coca-Cola Enterprises may be traced to early 1986, when the descendants of John T. Lupton, lead by an ancestor of the same name, initiated negotiations with The Coca-Cola Company about selling their bottling operations which were the largest of the soft drink companys sundry independent bottlers.

The company, headed by the latest John T. Lupton, and aptly named JTL Corporation, began negotiating with The Coca-Cola Company in January 1986 about selling its bottling operations to the diversified soft drink giant. The Coca-Cola Company at this point owned bottling operations that constituted roughly 11 percent of its domestic sales volume, to which the addition of JTLs bottling operations, located in Texas, Florida, Colorado, and Arizona, would add another 14 percent, giving the Coca-Cola Company direct control over one quarter of its domestic sales volume. JTL, with $1 billion in estimated 1985 sales, represented a significant acquisition for The Coca-Cola Company; it would bring the companys bottling ownership more in line with rival PepsiCo Inc., which had always owned a sizeable portion of its bottling operations.

Negotiations between JTL and The Coca-Cola Company continued throughout January, 1986 with an agreement to merge reached before the end of the month. As negotiations to complete the merger carried into February, another large Coca-Cola bottling operation became available when Beatrice Companies, Inc., a Chicago-based food concern and owner of the second largest collection of Coca-Cola bottling operations, began looking to sell its stake in bottling Coca-Cola. Beatrice was in the process of being acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, a $6.2 billion leveraged buyout that forced Beatrice to divest a wealth of assets before mid-1987. Slated for divestiture was the companys most profitable major segmentCoca-Cola bottling facilities stretching across nine states, including one of the countrys most lucrative regions, California.

Faced with either letting the two largest bottling operations in the country fall into potentially hostile hands or acquiring them, The Coca-Cola Companys management opted for the latter, quickly finding themselves in the midst of purchasing two companies with combined annual revenues of more than $2 billion. The potential consolidation of these two enormous bottling organizations was reflective of an industry-wide pattern that had developed during the previous ten years, as small independent bottlers merged and became large independent bottlers, winnowing the ranks of the bottling industry to more effectively compete in the new era of the cola wars. In 1975, there were an estimated 2,400 soft drink bottling plants in the United States; ten years later, when JTLs and Beatrices bottling groups were up for sale, the number of plants had dropped to 1,400 and by 1990 the number whittled to 730.

As The Coca-Cola Companys negotiations with JTL and Beatrice dragged on through the spring and into the summer, speculations abounded that The Coca-Cola Company would form a separate bottling entity with the two acquisitions and the bottling operations it already owned. Although purchasing JTLs and Beatrices bottling operations would give the soft drink company more control over its bottlers than it had in the past, the addition of the two heavyweight bottlers would also give the soft drink company considerable debt. A solution to this problem would come later, but as the summer wore on, the agreement to acquire the largest of the two companies, JTL Corp., fell apart, making The Coca-Cola Companys worries about assuming debilitating debt appear moot.

Some members of the Lupton family had decided in late June against selling the source of their familys fortune, wishing instead to remain independent, as they had for nearly a century. At about the same time JTL withdrew from negotiations with The Coca-Cola Company, however, an agreement between The Coca-Cola Company and Beatrice was reached, stipulating that the soft drink company would purchase Beatrices bottling group for $1 billion. Two weeks later, the directors of JTL made an about-face, deciding again to sell their bottling operations to the Coca-Cola Company for $1.4 billion.

The two transactions were completed in the fall, forming the foundation for a new prodigious force in the soft drink bottling industry, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., a company that would become known throughout the industry as CCE. The Coca-Cola Company borrowed $2.4 billion to buy JTL and Beatrices bottling group, incurring enough debt to dilute its earnings. To avoid this drain on its finances, the soft drink companys management decided to sell 51 percent of CCEs ownership to the public, the largest initial stock offering in the history of the United States at that point. By doing so, the debt accumulated from its bottling acquisitions was wiped off The Coca-Cola Companys financial books, while the stock-buying public was relied upon to invest $1.5 billion to get CCE up and running.

Several days after filing the prospectus for its CCE public offering, The Coca-Cola Company signed an agreement to buy Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southern Florida with the intention of turning around and selling the bottling group to CCE. This, the soft drink company did and would continue to do, building up its control over its domestic bottlers located in regions contiguous to the bottling operations it already owned through its 49 percent stake in CCE. Donald Keough, chief operating officer of The Coca-Cola Company and CCEs chairman, superintended over this expansion of CCEs operating territory, but the bottling company was essentially stewarded during its first years by Brian Dyson, who was described by the Wall Street Journal as a professorial Argentine who runs marathons. Dyson was selected as CCEs chief executive officer after earning much praise as the president of Coca-Cola USA, the domestic soft drink arm of The Coca-Cola Company; in that capacity, Dyson had spearheaded the soft drink companys marketing forays into the sale of diet Coke and the companys reformulated new Coke.

In his new position, Dyson faced the formidable task of satisfying CCEs shareholders in a business essentially foreign to The Coca-Cola Company. In contrast to the company he left to lead CCE, Dyson found himself in the less profitable, more capital-intensive business of carbonating Coca-Cola concentrate, bottling it, and selling it to stores, where the contentious pricing battle between The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo reached its most palpable point. Ironically, in this battle, The Coca-Cola Company and CCE fought for divergent goals: The Coca-Cola Company was concerned primarily with the volume of concentrate it sold, which generally increased when the retail price of Coke dropped, while CCE was concerned primarily with keeping its production and distribution costs as far below the retail price of Coke as possible. Thrust into this new, somewhat alien segment of the soft drink industry, Dyson went about bottling and selling a very familiar product, increasing the scope of CCE operations throughout the late 1980s.

In July 1987, CCE acquired the group of bottling companies The Coca-Cola Company had acquired in the fall of 1986, paying its 49 percent owners $173 million for bottling properties in Florida, Alabama, and Texas. Six months later, in January 1988, CCE agreed to pay $500 million to acquire additional bottlers from The Coca-Cola Company, this time for operations serving Miami, Memphis, Delaware, and Maryland. This set of acquisitions gave The Coca-Cola Company control over 45 percent of its domestic volume.

Other minor acquisitions followed, including the absorption of West Georgia Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc., Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of West Point-LaGrange, Palestine Coca-Cola Bottling Co., and Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Greenville, Inc., all purchased in 1989. As CCE entered the 1990s, it purchased another large bottler from The Coca-Cola Company, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas, for an estimated $250 million, leading the way to an acquisition the following year that signalled significant changes at CCE. Available for acquisition was Johnston Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Chattanooga, of which The Coca-Cola Company already owned 20 percent. Johnston represented roughly 11 percent of national Coca-Cola volume, second in size only to CCE itself. Serving a population base of 27.5 million spread across 15 states, Johnstons operations would place 55 percent of total domestic Coca-Cola bottle-andean volume under one operational and financial structurethe ever-widening corporate umbrella of CCEbut perhaps as equally beneficial for CCE was the managerial expertise the company would obtain through its purchase of Johnston. This infusion of new management was needed because CCE, in the four years since its formation, had demonstrated lackluster performance by executing its role as a Coca-Cola bottler in 26 states with disappointing results.

During CCEs first four years of existence, much of Coca-Colas domestic volume growth was derived not from CCEs bottling operations but from The Coca-Cola Companys independent franchised bottlers. Much of the blame for CCEs woes, which in addition to flat sales included low employee morale, was placed on the shoulders of the companys chief executive, Dyson. Critics charged that Dyson lacked the street smarts and the proper personality to deal with retailers. Whatever the cause of CCEs ails, the effect was clear: CCE needed to substantially ameliorate its performance. Johnstons president and chief operating officer, Henry Schimberg, and its 45 percent owner, Summerfield K. Johnston were perceived as the managers to effect such a turnaround.

Summerfield Johnston, whose grandfather purchased the first Coca-cola bottling franchise in 1901, and Schimberg, who was slated to occupy the same positions at CCE as he did at Johnston, were respected as skilled bottling managerssomething Dyson, despite his success at Coca-Cola USA, was not. Under Schimbergs stewardship, Johnston Bottling had recorded eight percent annual growth in sales volumetwice the industry rateand nearly quintupled its operating profit during the same span that Dyson had overseen CCEs flat growth. Dyson, it readily became apparent, was on his way out, a prediction made by the business press when it was learned that Dyson was not even informed of the pending Johnston acquisition until a deal had already been struck.

In December 1991, CCE acquired Johnston and with it, the talents of Schimberg, who took over the day-to-day operations of CCE. In his new post, Schimberg successfully achieved a profitable balance between the opposing goals of price and volume. Between 1991 and 1993, operating profit rose from $538 million to $804 million, while bottle-and-can case growth jumped from 0 percent to four percent. More important to CCEs shareholders, who held a 51 percent stake in the company, CCEs stock price climbed from $12.25 to $19.00 by 1994, giving both CCE shareholders and CCE management hope that the company would continue to record encouraging growth in the future.

As CCE entered the mid-1990s, Schimbergs strategic maneuvers continued to work their magic. By reorganizing the com-pany, Schimberg had laid a new foundation for its future, decentralizing CCEs management to drive decision-making down as close to the point of retail sale as possible. In this manner, with close attention paid to the point of sale, Schimberg hoped to create a legacy of success for The Coca-Cola Companys largest bottling group.

Principal Subsidiaries

BCI Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Los Angeles; Bottling Holdings (International) Inc.; CCT Acquisition Corporation, Inc.; The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Memphis; Delaware Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Enterprises Consulting, Inc.; Florida Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Johnston Coca-Cola Bottling Group, Inc.; The Louisiana Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Ltd.; Valley Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Vending Holding Company; The Wave Insurance Company.

Further Reading

Coca-Cola Completes $1 Billion Acquisition of Beatrice Cos. Line,Wall Street Journal, September 24, 1986, p. 40.

Coca-Cola Is Selling Firms to Bottler for $173 Million, Wall Street Journal July 7, 1987, p. 5.

Coke Buys Another Big Bottler, Business Week, July 14, 1986, p. 34.

Cokes Fizzy Deal, Fortune, November 24, 1986, p. 9.

Cokes Linkup with Its No. 1 Bottler, Business Week, February 10, 1986, p. 36.

Jabbonsky, Larry, Coca-Cola Enterprises Up Close, Beverage World, November 1991, pp. 23-6.

_____, Resurrecting CCE, BeverageWorld, November 1994, pp.24-35.

_____, Talking Bottling, BeverageWorld, January 1992, pp. 6, 28-33.

Johnson, Robert, Beatrice Is Said to Discuss Sale of Coke Line to Coke, Wall Street Journal, June 16, 1986, p. 2.

Kleiner, Kurt, Howard Knows Things Go Better with Coke, Balti more Business Journal, November 20, 1992, p. 6.

Morris, Betsy, Coca-Cola Enterprises Agrees to Acquire Big Bottlers From Coke for $500 Million, Wall Street Journal, January 29, 1988, p. 22

Oman, Bruce, From the Bottom Up, Beverage World, January 1993, p. 48.

Sellers, Patricia, Cokes Plan To Pump Up the Volume, Fortune, November 18, 1991, p. 157.

Smith, Timothy K., Coca-Cola Co. Agrees to Buy JTL Corp., Its Largest U.S. Bottler, for $1.4 Billion, Wall Street Journal, July 2, 1986, p. 3.

_____, Coca-Cola Plans to Sell 51% of Bottling Group Publicly for $1.5 Billion, Wall Street Journal, October 15, 1986, p. 1.

Ticer, Scott, Cokes Monster Stock Offering Could Go Flat, Business Week, October 27, 1986, p. 45.

Jeffrey L. Covell

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Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated

P.O. Box 31487
Charlotte, North Carolina 28231
(704) 551-4400
Fax: (704) 551-4672

Public Company
Incorporated: 1980
Employees: 5,000
Sales: $655.78 million
Stock Exchanges: NASDAQ
SICs: 2086 Bottled & Canned Soft Drinks

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated is the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. This manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of soft drinks, primarily products of the Coca-Cola Company, is the local Coke bottler for almost 15.5 million people and 120,000 retail outlets in 12 southeastern states.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated can trace its history to 1902, when three North Carolina entrepreneursJ. B. Harrison, J. Luther Snyder, and J. P. Gibbonsset out to bring bottled Coca-Cola to the Carolinas. Before these pioneers got to work, the thirsty had to travel to drugstore soda fountains to enjoy a Coke. In the early days of bottled Coke, production workers washed refiliable bottles by hand, used manually operated bottling machines to fill them, corked them by hand, and sold them from horse-drawn carriages. These efforts helped build a thirst for Coke that survived the Great Depression and the sugar rationing of World War I and World War II. By the early 1970s, hand-washed bottles and horse-drawn carts had given way to sophisticated bottling and distribution operations. The offspring of the first North Carolina bottling companies were beginning to consolidate and expand their territories.

Coke Consolidated traces its more recent history to 1972, when the Charlotte Coca-Cola Bottling Co. renamed itself the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Mid-Carolinas and began trading its stock publicly. The following year, it acquired the Coca-Cola bottlers in Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Raleigh, and Hamlet. The fast-growing concern became Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, which was incorporated in Delaware on May 14, 1980. James Johnson, who started working summers at the Statesville Coca-Cola Bottling Company when he was 11, became president and chief executive officer of both Charlotte Coca-Cola Bottling Company and the Carolina Coin Caterers Corporation in 1969. Johnson saw the new Coke Consolidated through its incorporation as president and CEO; from 1980 to 1987, he was vice chairman of the board and director of public affairs.

In 1983, chairman J. Frank Harrison, Jr., hired Marvin Griffin, from Coca-Cola USA to be Coke Consolidateds chief executive. Under Griffins leadership, Coke Consolidated began to expand its territory more aggressively. In 1984, it acquired three Georgia bottlers: Federal Coca-Cola Bottling Co. in Columbus, the Pageland Coca-Cola Bottling Works, and Waycross-Douglas Coca-Cola Bottling. The following year, Coke Consolidated purchased Wometco Coca-Cola Bottling Co. for $300 million, thereby acquiring new Coke franchise territories in Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. The sale of Consolidated Coin Caterers Corp. and 1.5 million new shares helped finance the Wometco purchase. In 1986 Coke Consolidated added bottling companies in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Virginia. In 1987 and 1988, the company sold its Canadian subsidiary and added new territories in Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

Several outside factors hurt Coke Consolidateds profitability in the mid-1980s. First, the introduction of New Coke in April 1985and the publics emphatic assertion that it preferred the old Cokebrought big losses to Coke bottlers across the country. Coke Consolidated suffered along with everyone else. The same summer, the Coca-Cola Company began marketing a new line of clothes under the Coke label. Because the new line was manufactured abroad, it created a public-relations nightmare for Coke Consolidated, a company located in the heart of the depressed textile communities of the Carolinas. Coca-Cola responded to consumer protests with a $5 million donation to the textile and garment industries Crafted With Pride campaign, but the damage was done. A $5 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by a local bottler also cut into profits. Heavy discounting was unable to raise profits. In April 1987, Griffin was out as CEO.

The difficulties did not impede Coke Consolidateds expansion. In 1989, the company obtained the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of West Virginia, Inc., from The Coca-Cola Company in exchange for 1.1 million shares of common stock and about $4 million. The same year it added the territories of Dick-son, Tennessee, and Laurel, Mississippi. Coke Consolidated continued to acquire territories in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Mississippi in 1990 and 1991, including the franchise rights for Barqs and Dr. Pepper in the Jackson, Tennessee, territory.

Coke Consolidated was involved in two price-fixing cases in the late 1980s, winning a major decision in one and arranging a novel settlement in the other. In the first, a major antitrust case, the company was one of several accused of price-fixing by Sewell Plastics, Inc., an Atlanta company that pioneered the development of two-liter bottles for soft drinks. In 1986, Sewell sued Coca-Cola and bottlers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama for $17 million, alleging that Southeastern Container Inc., a cooperative the bottlers created in 1982 with the help of Coca-Cola, violated antitrust laws by setting prices for the plastic bottles that the cooperative produced. The U.S. District Court in Charlotte, North Carolina, dismissed the suit, ruling that the formation of the cooperative had actually increased competition and resulted in lower prices to consumers. In September 1990, a federal appeals court upheld the lower courts decision. In February 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to renew the suit.

In a smaller price-fixing case, Coke Consolidated apparently became the first bottler to use coupons in a settlement. The West Virginia attorney general filed a price-fixing complaint against the company, alleging that it conspired to fix soft-drink prices from 1982 to 1985. Coke Consolidated, which said it acquired the offending bottler in 1985, agreed to settle the case by paying $50,000 to the state and attaching $50,000 worth of 20-cent coupons to two-liter bottles of Diet Coke, Diet Sprite, and Caffeine-Free Diet Coke. It distributed the bottles in areas of West Virginia where the alleged violations occurred.

In late 1991, analysts touted Coke Consolidated as a good stock bargain. Although a price war with PepsiCos wholly owned bottling operation kept earnings down, Coke Consolidated pershare earnings were up after losing a cumulative $5.54 between 1986 and 1990. Analyst Joseph Frazzano told Forbes that although Coke Consolidateds stock was undervalued based on its cash flow, it was no target for an unfriendly takeover raid: the company had 9.2 million outstanding shares, Coca-Cola Co. held 30 percent of the equity, and the Harrison family controlled 86 percent of the votes.

The acquisition of Sunbelt Coca-Cola in 1991 for approximately $15.2 million in cash and company debt helped Coke Consolidated grow by 35 percent in 1991 and 1992. Before the acquisition, Coke Consolidated was the fourth-largest Coca-Cola bottler, with annual sales of $400 million. Adding Sunbelt, number eight with annual sales of $200 million, vaulted Coke Consolidated to second, behind only Coca-Cola Enterprises, Inc., an Atlanta company owned by Coca-Cola Co. By taking on the Charleston, South Carolina bottler, Coke Consolidated continued its growth strategy of purchasing bottlers in adjoining territories.

In 1993, a joint venture with the Coca-Cola Co. gave Coke Consolidated management responsibility for Wilmington Coca-Cola Bottling Works, Inc., Coastal Coca-Cola Bottling Co., and Eastern Carolina Bottling Company. Under the terms of the venture, named the Piedmont Coca-Cola Bottling Partnership, Coke Consolidated acquired new sales centers and territories in parts of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia. The company reported that the joint venture would increase sales by 15 percent and reduce the companys outstanding debt by about 20 percent. In addition, it gave Coke Consolidated control of more than 90 percent of the territory in the Carolinas.

In the late 1980s, Coke Consolidated invested in advanced computer systems to provide management with timely and relevant data. All its route salespeople received handheld computers to record sales transactions. That innovation allowed salespeople to transmit the information via phone lines and, sometimes, by satellite, to the companys Charlotte computer center at the end of the business day. The following morning, managers could pull up freshly compiled volume, sales mix, selling price, and gross margin information. Another information innovation, the Lab Management System, allowed the company to store and analyze information on its extensive quality assurance program. Its computer system, Norand, also enabled Coke Consolidated to incorporate new acquisitions into the system almost as soon as it acquired them. The sales centers of the companies involved in the Piedmont Partnership were all operating on Norand in less than two months.

Other Coke Consolidated innovations have come in the areas of customer service and sales. A 24-hour toll-free number allowed customers to call the Consumer Response Center with questions and comments and provided information for the company to use in determining trends and consumer concerns. The Cold Drink organization made Coca-Cola products available in factories, entertainment venues, recreation areas, hotels, offices, and schools for on-site consumption. The fast-lane merchandiser put cold Cokes at check-out lines in retail outlets to encourage impulse buying.

Coke Consolidateds close relations with the Coca-Cola Co. have involved marketing collaborations as well as business opportunities. In the early 1990s, Coke Consolidated began working with Coke on the Mello Yello 500 NASCAR race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the weeks before the race, point-of-sale displays, visits by show cars and drivers to retail outlets, and tailored advertising drew attention to the race and boosted sales. On race day, 180,000 fans at the Speedway and millions more at home would see the event and the related advertising.

Coke Consolidated earned a record $14.8 million in 1993 on net sales of nearly $687 million, compared to a loss of $118.3 million (attributed to mandatory accounting changes) on sales of almost $656 million in 1992. The net income applicable to common shareholders was $ 1.60 per share. The company attributed the improvement in earnings to the 5 percent boost in revenues, in addition to lower packaging costs, improved operating efficiencies, and the tax and financing cost benefits of a refinancing of preferred stock in late 1992.

These results capped a five-year period during which the companys sales and operating cash flow nearly doubled, from $389 million in 1989 to 1993s $687 million. Income from operations during the period increased by approximately 20 percent each year, from $23.8 million to $57.3 million, and adjusted earnings per share (a measure that takes into account earnings per share plus amortization per share) grew by 30 percent annually. The return to shareholders during the five-year period averaged 13 percent.

Coca-Cola Consolidated, a Fortune 500 company, produced more than 343,000 cases of soda per day from its four manufacturing centersCharlotte/Snyder Production Center, North Carolina; Roanoke, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Mobile, Alabama. From company headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, president and CEO James L. Moore oversaw 10 division offices, 74 distribution centers, and the work of approximately 5,000 employees. The company could boast steady growth, solid family ownership, and a strong relationship with the owner of perhaps the most recognizable brand name in the world. As it looked ahead, Coke Consolidated was confident that it would continue to generate volume growth from within and add new customers through the acquisition of additional territories.

Principal Subsidiaries:

Columbus Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Nashville, Inc.; Dickson Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Coca-Cola Bottling Works of Columbia, Tenn.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Roanoke, Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Mobile, Inc.; Albany CCBC Inc.; Panama City Coca-Cola Bottling Co.; Case Advertising Inc.; CC Beverage Packing, Inc.; Tennessee Soft Drink Production Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of West Virginia, Inc.; Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Jackson, Inc.; Mrs. Sullivans Pies, Inc.; Jackson Acquisitions, Inc.; Sunbelt Coca-Cola Bottling Company, Inc.; Palmetto Bottling Company; Fayetteville Coca-Cola Bottling Company; Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Affiliated, Inc.

Further Reading:

Coca-Cola Bottling Consolidated: Concern Is Near Completion of Sunbelt Coca-Cola Deal, Wall Street Journal, December 19, 1991, p. A16.

Cone, Edward, Are We There Yet? Forbes, March 9, 1987, .p. 110.

Kenneson, Kim, Court Upholds Ruling for Bottlers, Raleigh, North Carolina, News and Observer, September 6, 1990, p. C7; Coca-Cola Bottlers Deal Would Make It 2nd Largest, Raleigh, North Carolina, News and Observer, November 12, 1991, p. Dl.

McCarthy, Michael J., Coke Bottler to Use Coupons to Settle Price-Fixing Case, Wall Street Journal, January 18, 1990.

Sfiligoj, Eric, For Coke Consolidated, Quality Is Job One, Beverage World, April 1992, p. 58.

U.S. Supreme Court Wont Revive Suit Against Coca-Cola, Southeast Bottlers, Raleigh, North Carolina, News and Observer, February 20, 1991, p. C6.

Where the Fizz Is, Forbes, October 28, 1991, p. 219.

David B. Rice

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Coca-Cola Beverages


Coca-Cola Beverages is the world's largest soft drink producer and distributor, holding 47 percent of the global market. The company produces several beverages other than Coke and owns a line of food products. About 90 percent of the company's revenues come from beverage sales, while the balance comes from food sales. Despite its popularity and presence in the United States, 68 percent of Coca-Cola's soft drink products are sold outside North America.

Coca-Cola Beverages is regarded as one of the best managed companies in the world. In Fortune Magazine 's 1997 Annual Survey of corporate reputations the Coca-Cola company ranked first based on its strong marketing skills, financial soundness, corporate and environmental responsibility, quality products and services, and overall business performance. In the same survey corporate executives rated Coca-Cola as America's most admired corporation.

The company traces its origins to May 8, 1886, when the Coca-Cola soft drink (Coke) was invented by pharmacist Dr. John Styth Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia. Experimenting with a three-legged brass kettle in his backyard, Pemberton mixed caramel colored, cane sugar syrup with carbonated water, caffeine, and extracts from kola nuts and coca leaves. Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank M. Robinson, suggested the name Coca-Cola. Robinson also created the product's distinctive handwritten logo.

Coke generated profits of only $50 in its first year of sales. Pemberton had to sell two-thirds of his pharmacy business in 1888 to cover his losses. In 1891 Asa Candler, an Atlanta druggist, acquired total control of Coca-Cola for $2300. In 1892 Candler and his partners formed the Coca-Cola Company. That same year Candler spent $11,000 on an advertising campaign that placed the Coke logo on common, everyday household items like calendars and drinking glasses. Candler was among the first businessmen in the United States who used coupons to entice customers to try his product. In 1893 Candler registered Coca-Cola as a patented trademark.

Coke was initially sold as a soda fountain drink. In 1899 Candler sold the rights to bottle his product to two Tennessee lawyers who established an extensive bottling franchise system that still exists today. In 1915 the Root Glass Company designed a contoured glass bottle for the soft drink that was shaped in the form of a coca bean. This bottle design quickly became nationally associated with Coke. During World War I (19141918) sugar rationing measures temporarily slowed the company's growth; however, a revolutionary process was invented whereby fuel could be saved by mixing sugar and water without heat.

In 1919 the Candler family sold the Coca-Cola Company to Georgia businessman Ernest Woodruff for $25 million. The Woodruff family presided over the company until 1955 and made a lasting impression on the product's marketing. Under the Woodruffs the familiar slogan "Coke is the real thing" and the six-pack carton of Coke were developed. During World War II (19391945) Coca-Cola boosted its image by promising to provide a free Coke to every U.S. soldier. The company also took risks with its image by continuing to distribute Coke from its plant inside Nazi Germany. In the 1950s Coca-Cola took another risk by featuring African Americans in advertisements before the Civil Rights Movement had taken hold.

During the next decade Coca-Cola began to diversify, merging with the Minute Maid Corporation in 1960 and Duncan Foods in 1964. In 1969 Coca-Cola acquired Belmont Springs Water Company. The 1960s also marked the debut of canned Coke and the introduction of four new soft drinks in the United States: Fanta, an orange soda, Sprite, a lemon-lime soda, Fresca, a grapefruit-flavored soda, and Tab, a diet cola. From the 1970s Coke has been packaged in two-liter plastic bottles. In 1982 Coca-Cola introduced Diet Coke, which has outsold all other soda products almost since its inception.

Two years later, in 1984, Coca-Cola began experimenting with its recipe. Concerned by indications that its main competitor Pepsi-Cola had drawn even in market share, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke, a sweeter cola that tasted much like its competition. But the American public rejected the modified recipe, and Coca-Cola returned to producing Coke with its original flavor under the name Coca-Cola Classic. Every year since the change in recipes Coca-Cola has increased its share of the soft drink market. Nonetheless, Coca-Cola still sells New Coke, renamed Coke II, in a number of states.

In the 1990s Coca-Cola continued to challenge itself and the competition. Attempting to reduce Gatorade's dominance of the sport drink market, Coca-Cola rolled out a fruit punch flavored beverage called PowerAde. In 1994 it introduced Fruitopa, a line of fruit juices and teas. The next year Coca-Cola bought Barq's root beer. At the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Coca-Cola launched a successful $250 million advertising campaign, which spurred sales at double the competition's rate. In 1997 the company began selling Surge, a soft drink marketed as containing higher levels of caffeine and sugar than ordinary soda.

Still headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the Coca-Cola Company shows no signs of slowing. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the company is listed on the prestigious Dow Jones Industrial Average Index of blue chip companies. As the century approached its conclusion, Coca-Cola announced that Coke was sold in more than 200 countries at a pace of nearly one billion eight-ounce servings per day.

See also: Charles Hires, Trademark


Business News Briefs, "Coca-Cola Buys Barq's." The Arizona Republic, March 30, 1995.

Cox News Service, "Coke Sells Near 1 Billion Per Day." The Grand Rapids Press, March 3, 1998.

Maupin, Melissa. The Story of Coca-Cola. Mankato, Minn.: Smart Apple Media, 1999.

Roush, Chris, "Coca-Cola's outlay for ads rises 41% in Olympic year." The Atlanta Journal/The Atlanta Constitution, March 20, 1997.

"The Coca-Cola Company," [cited April 10, 1999] available from the World Wide Web @

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COCA-COLA. The soft drink Coca-Cola was invented by the Atlanta pharmacist and patent medicine maker John S. Pemberton in 1886. Its name, suggested by an employee, Frank Robinson, derived from its two principal drug ingredients, the Peruvian coca leaf (cocaine) and the West African kola nut (caffeine). Coca-Cola was originally sold as a "nerve tonic" to cure the then-popular supposed disease of neurasthenia, and its promoters claimed it treated headaches and hangovers as well. The sugary syrup, mixed with carbonated water, was also sold as a "delicious and refreshing" soda fountain drink.

Pemberton died penniless in 1888, but a fellow Atlanta pharmacist, As a G. Candler, with the assistance of Frank Robinson, made Coca-Cola a national soda fountain success by the end of the century, gradually abandoning patent medicine claims. The current Coca-Cola

Company was incorporated in 1892. Candler saw no future in bottling the drink and gave the bottling rights to Benjamin Thomas and Joseph Whitehead, two Chattanooga lawyers, in 1899. Thomas and Whitehead parlayed the contract into a successful bottling franchise system that truly democratized the drink. In 1903, under considerable social pressure, Candler removed the cocaine from Coca-Cola. In 1919 his children sold the business for $25 million to a syndicate of bankers headed by the Atlanta businessman Ernest Woodruff. Plagued by high sugar prices, Woodruff unsuccessfully attempted to abrogate the perpetual bottling contract. In 1923, his son Robert W. Woodruff took over the presidency of the troubled company and made Coca-Cola, popularly called "Coke," a symbol of the American way of life through ubiquitous, effective advertising. The patriarchal Woodruff passed on every major company decision until his death in 1985 at the age of ninety-five.

During World War II, Coca-Cola was deemed an essential morale booster for American troops overseas, and Coke employees established bottling plants behind the lines, thus positioning the company for swift global expansion in the postwar world. In France and elsewhere during the early 1950s, communists spread rumors that Coke destroyed health and virility, but efforts to halt the soft drink's international expansion failed.

Beginning in the depression era, Pepsi-Cola arose as a fierce competitor, offering more drink for a nickel. Coke finally matched Pepsi ounce for ounce and offered Sprite, Fanta, and other drinks from the 1960s on ward. In the 1980s and 1990s, the aggressive chief executive officer Rober to Goizueta revolutionized the company, giving the revered Coke name to Diet Coke and in 1985 changing the flavor of Coca-Cola in the New Coke disaster. Ironically, this marketing blunder reinvigorated sales of Classic Coca-Cola when the company brought it back after a three-month hiatus. Following brief forays into diversification, notably in Columbia Pictures, Goizueta refocused the company solely on soft drinks. Under his leadership the share price shot up. Following Goizueta's death in 1997, the company entered a difficult period during which its stock declined.

Although the "cola wars" continued into the twenty-first century, Coca-Cola remained the world's preeminent soft drink. The world's most widely distributed product at that time, "Coca-Cola" was reputedly the second best-known word on Earth after "okay." The history of Coca-Cola provides a case study in modern image marketing, in which a fizzy soft drink, mostly sugar water, assumed massive symbolic weight for both critics and advocates.


Allen, Frederick. Secret Formula. New York: Harper Business, 1994.

Greising, David. I'd Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta. New York: Wiley, 1998.

Oliver, Thomas. The Real Coke, the Real Story. New York: Random House, 1986.

Pendergrast, Mark. For God, Country, and Coca-Cola. 2ded. New York: Basic Books, 2000.


See alsoSoda Fountains ; Soft Drink Industry .

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Coca Cola

Coca Cola Trade name for a cola drink, first formulated by John Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886, as a headache and hangover cure. Originally it contained extract of coca leaves, although this was removed from the formulation many years ago.

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