The Coca-Cola Co. has had a shareholder lawsuit in the US dismissed after it was alleged that it used its control over its bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises in an effort to to maximise profits, according to reports.

As cited by the Associated Press, a court in Delaware ruled last week that, under a 1986 master agreement between Coca-Cola and CCE, actions challenged by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are allowed and are thus barred by a three-year statute of limitations.

The plaintiffs alleged that Coca-Cola engaged in pushing large volumes of concentrate to CCE to meet sales targets, forcing the bottler to change plans for its Rocky Mountain division, which resulted in reduced projected profits.

The judge was cited as having decided that Coca-Cola, which owns 35% of the bottler's shares, had "every right" to revise prices, terms of payment and other conditions in supplying the bottler with syrup and concentrate, and that those changes could take effect immediately upon notice to the bottler, the news service said.

"The plaintiffs have railed against particular actions that have occurred in the last three years, but those actions were the foreseeable results of a contract formed in 1986," the news service cited the judge as saying.

No-one was immediately available for comment at Coca-Cola when contacted by just-drinks today (23 October).
The judge allegedly added: "The plaintiffs have railed against particular actions that have occurred in the last three years, but those actions were the foreseeable results of a contract formed in 1986."