US: Coca-Cola moves to have CCE lawsuit dismissed
The Coca-Cola Co. has moved to have a lawsuit against it in the US dismissed.
The company confirmed to just-drinks today (9 August) that it has asked for a lawsuit claiming it controlled the operations of its largest US bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises, to the detriment of the bottler's shareholders.
The case, brought by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on behalf of CCE shareholders, dates back to early last year, when CCE, which is 35%-owned by Coca-Cola, was accused of "channel stuffing". The action involves piling large volumes of product into the market place in order to make sales targets.
"Coke has maximised its own profit to the detriment of CCE," the attorney representing the plaintiffs, James Miller, told local press.
But speaking to just-drinks, a spokesperson for Coca-Cola said: "We've maintained that these claims are without merit and at most represent a disagreement over business strategy. None of the actions that are being challenged rose to the level of board action by CCE, and there are no allegations that the board failed to exercise proper oversight.
"The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Enterprises have had a contractual relationship for some 20 years and are expected to collaborate in certain areas of business planning," the spokesperson concluded.
The judge has 90 days in which to rule on Coca-Cola's request.
CCE handles around 80% of Coca-Cola's North American sales.
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