Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated will suspend contributions to its Retirement Savings Plan (401(k) plan) from the start of April, the company said in a regulalatory filing on Friday (20 February).

Prior to this suspension, the company provided matching contributions on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to 5% of an employee's annual eligible pay.

At the end of October 2008, Coca-Cola Bottling said it had seen a one-off pension-related payment help turn profit to loss in its third quarter.

The North Carolina-based bottler said that the net profit of US$5.3m in the third quarter 2007 had become a loss of $3.1m in the three months to the end of September 2008. The results include a $7.2m net charge to freeze the company's liability to the Central States, Southeast and Southwest Areas Pension Fund, while preserving pension benefits previously earned by company employees covered by this plan. The company also highlighted that it took a $2.1m net charge for "the actions taken under the company's previously announced restructuring plan".

Sales in the quarter rose, meanwhile, to $381.5m from $367.4m.