The Coca-Cola Co has been hit by a class action. The action claims that Coke made "false and misleading statements regarding Coke's business and prospects.

Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins announced that the class action has been commenced in the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on behalf of purchasers of common stock in the company during the period between 30 January, 2003 and 15 September, 2004.

"The complaint charges Coke and certain of its officers and directors with violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934," the solicitor said in a statement yesterday (9 May).

"The complaint alleges that during the (21-month period), defendants made false and misleading statements regarding Coke's business and prospects. The true facts, which were know to defendants but concealed from the investing public, were as follows: (i) Coke's business strategy was flawed and its business model was not working; (ii) Coke's relationships with its key bottlers were impaired and harming Coke's economic performance; and (iii) as a result of the above, Coke's earnings going forward would be diminished."

On 15 September last year, the solicitor noted, Coke revealed that its second half 2004 financial results would be below forecasted levels. Coke's stock declined on this news.

The plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of Coke common stock during the period.