Just a month after merging its eastern and western North American operating units, Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) has announced that around 2,000 jobs are to be axed from its North American operations.

CCE the world's largest coke bottler said it expects the cuts to save CCE US$80m to US$100m by the beginning of 2002.

"Clearly our year-to-date results are disappointing and we are taking action to address the cost issues contributing to this performance," said Lowry F. Kline chief executive of CCE.

"These actions are essential and reflect the realities of the current marketplace," he added.

Commenting, John Alm, president of CCE said: "Despite improved North American volume performance in the second quarter, efforts to manage the competitive retail price gap that exists in many of our markets resulted in little or no price increase

"While we have enhanced our business through the introduction of new products and packages, retail price trends on cans and 2-litre continue to represent a significant challenge.

Alm continued: "We have introduced a number of packages geared toward generating higher net pricing per case, but industry pricing on key packages remained at or below prior-year levels."

The job cuts will take place in the third and fourth quarters resulting in restructuring charges of US$60m to US$80m.

Global Still Drinks Report 2000