IUF | Coca-Cola Workers Network | Monthly : September 2007

TCCC to sell 18 million shares in Coca-Cola Amatil to purchase stake in Coca-Cola Korea

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 09/28/07

Coke plans to sell part of its stake in Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil to raise cash for new investments, the bottler announced Thursday.

Coca-Cola will sell nearly 18 million shares of Amatil, which represents about 3.4 percent of the bottler's total shares. Coke's cut of the company will fall from 32 percent to 30 percent, according to Amatil.

The sale will be worth approximately $146 million in U.S. currency based on Amatil's current stock price.

Coke will use some of the capital to buy a 10 percent stake in Coca-Cola Korea Bottling Company, which Amatil recently agreed to sell to LG Household & Healthcare. The rest of the proceeds will fund other unspecified "growth opportunities" in the region, according to Amatil.

Coca-Cola Amatil says Coca-Cola Co to trim stake
REUTERS Thu Sep 27, 2007

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian soft drinks maker Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (CCL.AX: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Thursday the Coca-Cola Company (KO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to sell a stake of about 2.4 percent in Amatil to buy a stake in Amatil's former South Korean business.

Coca-Cola Co will sell about 18 million Amatil shares through a book build process to start on Thursday, after the market close. The U.S. firm currently has 32 percent of Amatil.

At Thursday's closing price of A$9.25, the stake would be worth A$166.5 million ($146 million).

Coca-Cola Amatil sold its South Korean business to LG Household & Health Care (051900.KS: Quote, Profile, Research) in July for A$520-A$545 million ($458-$480 million).

LG said soon after that it hoped to sell some of the shares to Coca-Cola Co, and that it had sought Coca-Cola's participation from the initial stage of its interest in the South Korean business.

Coca-Cola Co said in a statement the funds from the sale will be used to acquire a 10 percent stake in the Korean business, as well as to fund other growth opportunities in the region.

"This sale merely balances our investments in the region," Coca-Cola Co said, adding it has no plans to sell any additional shares.

($1=A$1.14)

Coca-Cola Co to sell shares in CCA
THE AGE September 28, 2007

ATLANTA parent The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) plans to sell 18 million shares in Australian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) to balance its investment in the region.

The sale represents about 2.4 per cent of CCA's shares on issue, with TCCC holding a 32 per cent stake in the drinks bottler.

TCCC said funds from the sale would be used to acquire a 10 per cent equity stake in the troubled Coca-Cola Korea Bottling Company (CCKBC), which CCA is selling following an extortion attempt and related product recall last year.

The deal with LG Household & Healthcare is expected to fetch $520 million to $545 million and be finalised by late October.

A TCCC spokesperson said proceeds from the CCA share sale would "fund other opportunities in the region" but was unable to elaborate.

Coca-Cola Company chief financial officer Gary Fayard said CCA remained one of the most important and trusted bottling partners.

"We continue to be focused on the sustainable growth of our joint business," he said.

CCA shares fell 25¢ to $9.25.

Australia's Coca-Cola Amatil says top shareholder Coca-Cola Co. to sell 18 mln shares
SYDNEY (MarketWatch) --

Australian bottling group Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd. (CCL.AU) said Thursday its major shareholder The Coca-Cola Co. plans to sell down its stake in the group to help fund other opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.
In a statement, Coca-Cola Amatil said Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. plans to sell around 18 million shares in the group, or around 2.4% of its issued capital, through a bookbuild to be undertaken Thursday afternoon.
The Coca-Cola Co. currently holds a 32% stake in the Australian business, which will fall to around 30% following the selldown.
The U.S. group plans to use the funds from the sale to fund the acquisition of a 10% stake in Coca-Cola Korea Bottling Co., as well as to fund other growth opportunities in the region.
"This sale merely balances our investments in the region," Coca-Cola Co. Chief Financial Officer Gary Fayard said.
"We continue to be focused on the sustainable growth of our joint business, as evidenced by our remaining substantial holding in Coca-Cola Amatil," he said.
"We have no plans to sell any additional shares."
Coca-Cola Amtail shares closed Thursday down 2.6% at A$9.25. At current share prices, the shares to be sold would be worth around A$166.5 million (US$133.2 million).

Cosmos soft drink workers picket Coca-Cola plant

A picket protesting redundancies at Cosmos, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Company Inc. (CCBPI), is underway at its Cebu plant.

The 140 workers made redundant at the Cebu plant earlier this month are members of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU), which is not part of the IUF-affiliated Alliance of Coca-Cola Unions Philippines (ACCUP). However, ACCUP has established contact with the union and will raise the matter with CCBPI management tomorrow.

Sun Star Cebu, Sunday, September 23, 2007

A LEADING softdrinks company failed to deliver Cosmos Bottling Corp. products yesterday after 92 workers picketed in front of its Mandaue City plant.

Associated Labor Unions (ALU) spokesperson Joy Lim said they prevented the withdrawal of Cosmos products from the Coca-Cola plant pending action on the proposal of the Cosmos workers that they be absorbed by Coca-Cola.

Cosmos, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Company Inc. (CCBPI), terminated the services of about 140 workers earlier this month for economic reasons.

In an earlier press statement, CCBPI said Cosmos “exerted all possible means to redeploy as many workers to other facilities or based on available positions and their qualifications for these jobs.”

But Lim said that the 92 Cosmos workers are considered Coca-Cola workers because their IDs and uniforms are issued by the Coke management.

During the picket that started at 6 a.m. yesterday, the picketers wore Coca-Cola uniforms and IDs.

Lim said the employees lost their jobs because business slowed down.

Transferring the bottling of Cosmos products to the Coca-Cola plant creates a runaway shop, she said.

A runaway shop is one where the employer moves its business to another location or it temporarily closes its business for anti-union purposes.

However, Ann Marie Trasmonte, Coca-Cola human relations manager, said that CCBPI has nothing to do with the Cosmos problem because it is a separate company.

She said CCBPI issued IDs and uniforms to Cosmos workers because the company is an affiliate firm.

While Trasmonte admitted that CCBPI is bottling Cosmos products, this is a business matter between Coca-Cola and Cosmos, and is not related to the labor dispute.

“We respect their right to express their sentiment. But they should do it without hampering CCBPI operation. In as much as we understand them, we hope that they will also understand that we are not in any way part of what has been happening to them,” Trasmonte said.

Lim said the picket was decided after the conciliation meeting at the National Mediation and Conciliation Board bogged down.

“What Cosmos and CCBPI offered during the conciliation meeting was only training for livelihood program. It is clear that CCBPI is now bottling Cosmos products, so we consider it as runaway shop of Cosmos, hence, a strike in front of Coke is appropriate,” Lim said.

Three union leaders of CCBPI have appealed to the ALU picketers to refrain from blocking the delivery of Coca-Cola products.

Alberto Dellera of the Cebu Royal Plant Employees Sales Force Union, Alfredo Suico of the Supervisory Employees Union, and Joven Lopez of the Cebu Royal Plant Workers Independent Union said that while they respect the picket of ALU members, the labor dispute must be settled peacefully. Lopez said they sympathize with the plight of the Cosmos workers (EOB)

Free trade must be promoted, says Coke chief

Neville Isdell, chief executive of Coca-Cola, has criticised corporate leaders for not speaking out against protectionism, warning that the failure of big business to convince politicians and public opinion of the benefits of free trade will harm global growth and companies’ profits.

In a video interview with the Financial Times – in which he also indicated that he would continue to lead the drinks group beyond his 65th birthday next year – Mr Isdell said recent regulatory scandals had prompted chief executives to steer clear of controversial topics such as free trade.

Asked whether business leaders were doing enough to make a public case against rising protectionist sentiment in the US, Mr Isdell said: “No, I don’t think so. I think that, [after] what happened around Enron and the like, a lot of us put our heads below the parapet.

“I think we’re now learning to bring our heads up above the parapet again but I think, certainly on free trade, we need to be more outspoken.”

Coca-Cola derives most of its profit from outside North America and the comments from its chief underscore the difficulties faced by US companies in influencing the political process on high-profile issues such as globalisation.

US politicians are split over free trade amid rising concerns that globalisation and low-cost manufacturing countries such as China and India are hurting the US economy, causing job losses.

Mr Isdell accused opponents of free trade of “economic illiteracy”, saying that, without further moves to boost free trade, the global economy would suffer.

On the succession issue, Mr Isdell, who was called out of retirement in 2004 to revive Coke’s fortunes, suggested he would stay on beyond next year when he turns 65, the company’s informal retirement age.

“There is no set date [for retiring]. I don’t think age is a factor. Look at the age of the people who are running today for president. There’s a new era here. The 65 age thing is out of date.”

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007