Coca-Cola has declined to number how many jobs will be lost with the integration

Coca-Cola has declined to number how many jobs will be lost with the integration

The Coca-Cola Co has warned that more job cuts are inevitable as it transfers operations in North America to its new entity, Coca-Cola Refreshments, following the acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises in the US and Canada.

Speaking to just-drinks today (4 October), Kenth Kaerhoeg, director of Corporate Media Relations for Coca-Cola, said that there will be job reductions but declined to say how many.

He said that Coca-Cola is "committed to letting people know as soon as possible if there will be any change".

His comments follow Coca-Cola's announcement yesterday (3 October) that it has completed its takeover of Coca-Cola Enterprises in North America. The firm expects to  generate "at least" US$350m in annual synergies within four years.

"We have a full integration plan and have had a team working on this since the announcement was made, and it's about our five entities coming together to create one organisation," Kaerhoeg said. "We have a full plan and there are lots of elements to it. We have already transferred 59,000 employees to Coca-Cola Refreshments this weekend alone.

"We have said there is going to be a net reduction, there is no doubt that there will be more job reductions...but we have also recognised that there will be some exciting opportunities coming up too," he added.

Some observers have said that they expect Coca-Cola to close bottling facilities in order to consolidate operations in North America.

Following completion of the deal, Coca-Cola has renamed the sales and operational elements of the North American businesses, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA and Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada. Coca-Cola North America will focus on franchise business and consumer marketing and innovation.

Kaerhoeg said the firm's focus will be on building its soft drinks brands in North America.

"In North America the brands are healthier than they have been for a long time," he told just-drinks. "There will be no time to rest on our laurels and there are many elements to winning and changes that we will be making to ensure we will win. It's about ensuring we have the strongest brands in North America and the best teams in place to win."

Kaerhoeg declined to say if Coca-Cola would seek to acquire more small bottlers, or to discuss what changes might be made in the company's distribution network.

He added: "At the moment we are focused on the integration and we are working closely with our North American bottlers. We have always been in close dialogue with our partners."

For the deal at-a-glance, click here.