The principal bottler of Coca-Cola brands in Germany, Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetranke AG, has announced that it is to close three bottling plants and cut 900 jobs. The move is a bid to improve sales and distribution, the company said.

The bottling plants in Cologne, Karlsruhe and Osnabruck will be closed this year. But the company said it would be opening a new plant in Halle in eastern Germany. "Non-carbonated soft drinks such as (energy sports drink) Powerade will be bottled there for the German and European markets," the company said.

Coca-Cola, which owns a 41% stake in Coca-Cola Erfrischungsgetranke, assumed full management control of the Berlin-based bottler, which is Germany's largest producer of soft drinks, around a year ago.

The news of the cuts, which represent around 9% of the company's workforce, follow the recent announcement of major cutbacks by Coca-Cola in the US, where the soft drinks giant said late last week it would be cutting 1,000 jobs.