Coca-Cola United Acquires Georgia Territories, Eyes Possible $50M Project

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, Inc., headquartered in Birmingham, announced that it closed transactions with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and The Coca-Cola Company for the acquisition of 10 new sales and distribution territories, as well as a production facility, in locations throughout the southeastern United States.

The newly-acquired territories include: Florence, Leroy, Mobile and Robertsdale in Alabama; Bainbridge, Columbus and Sylvester in Georgia; Laurel and Ocean Springs in Mississippi; and Panama City in Florida. The production facility is in Mobile, Alabama.

More than 920 associates have joined Coca-Cola UNITED as part of these acquisitions. In addition, 100 new employees have been added to support UNITED’s commitment to providing dedicated and unparalleled customer service and strong community engagement. UNITED also plans to invest more than $9 million in infrastructure, facility improvements and fleet throughout these new territories.

“These new territories make for a more contiguous franchise footprint for our company and will enable us to more effectively serve our customers and consumers throughout the seven southeastern states where we operate,” said John H. Sherman, president and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. “We’re extremely impressed with the caliber of associates that are joining the UNITED family, many of whom we already know. They are highly-motivated and have a work ethic that is focused on serving one another as associates, serving our customers, and serving the communities where we live and work.”

Epic transformation in 1,281 days

The closings are the culmination of four years of acquisitions for Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, which were part of the The Coca-Cola Company’s more broadly based refranchising efforts throughout the United States. The Coca-Cola Company developed its 21st Century Beverage Partnership Model, internally called “System of the Future,” to align bottlers and optimize their capability to better serve customers and maintain strong, local ties across diverse Coca-Cola markets.

“We have been on a four-year journey with UNITED to transform their territory, and we are incredibly proud of all the great work we’ve accomplished together,” said J. Alexander “Sandy” Douglas Jr., president, Coca-Cola North America. “It’s exciting to see UNITED take on a bigger role within the system as we strengthen our community ties across the United States. UNITED has lived and celebrated our shared values for more than 100 years as a respected member of the community.”

Over the course of four years, beginning with the acquisition of Oxford, Alabama, in March of 2014, and ending with today’s acquisitions, Coca-Cola UNITED has successfully acquired more than 40 additional facilities and market territories, as well as transitioned more than 7,000 new associates and about 100,000 customers into the UNITED family. To sustain its local business operating model – which is founded on local relationships, dedicated customer service, and strong community engagement — UNITED increased its workforce by approximately 10 to 15 percent in the markets it acquired. In addition, almost $300 million in capital investments have been made to build new, or improve existing, facilities for its associates, as well as add to its fleet and upgrade equipment in an effort to better serve customers.

UNITED has also added close to 100 positions in Birmingham within its Customer Solutions Center and Corporate Services Division to support the growth in its field operations and customer engagement.

“What our Coca-Cola UNITED team has achieved in the past four years is nothing short of amazing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration and partnership we have with our colleagues from Coca-Cola North America,” said Claude Nielsen, executive chairman of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. ”UNITED has more than tripled in size since 2014, and we’ve grown from fewer than 3,000 associates to an organization of almost 10,000 associates, serving more than 150,000 customers throughout our seven states, and staying true to UNITED’s core values of Quality, Excellence, Integrity and Respect. This has truly been an epic transformation of our company.”