USA: Coca-Cola Consolidated to Sell KY and OH Territories, To Combine Huntington And Charleston Operations

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Coca-Cola Consolidated today announced it has signed a letter of intent to sell its Ohio and Kentucky sales territories to another Coca-Cola bottler. The sale represents about 3 million cases and is approximately 2 percent of the company's sales volume."This strategic realignment will enable us to better focus on our core business in West Virginia," said Coca-Cola Consolidated spokesman Lauren Steele. "This is part of an ongoing effort to streamline our operations so we can serve our customers more efficiently."The company will sell the territories to Coca-Cola Enterprises, the predominant Coca-Cola bottler in both Kentucky and Ohio.Steele explained that the transaction is an asset sale involving the sale of the company's franchise territory serviced by its Pikeville, KY facility and rights to sales routes in a handful of Kentucky and Ohio counties currently serviced by distribution centers in West Virginia. The streamlining of operations will include the creation of a combined Huntington and Charleston market serviced by the company's sales and distribution center in St. Albans.He explained that any decisions regarding hiring of employees by Coca-Cola Enterprises will be made by that company."This realignment will enable Coca-Cola Consolidated to maximize its presence in West Virginia," he said. "We have retained all of our West Virginia sales territories and we are committed to serving our West Virginia consumers."Steele said the newer and larger St. Albans facility is perfectly situated to service the combined Charleston and Huntington market. The company made a similar move in North Carolina on Tuesday, announcing it is combining its Kinston and Goldsboro markets by closing its Kinston facility. In May, the company combined its Shelby and Forest City markets, also in North Carolina.Charlotte-based Coca-Cola Consolidated is the nation's second largest Coca-Cola bottler with sales territories primarily in the Southeast.

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