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Coca-Cola to Fire 750 Workers After Paring Distribution Regions

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March 21 (Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Co., the world’s largest soft drink maker, plans to fire 750 employees in its U.S. division following a February decision to pare its distribution regions from seven to three.

The cuts in the coming months will represent about 1 percent of jobs in Coca-Cola’s North American unit, which covers the U.S. and Canada, Scott Williamson, a spokesman, said today in an interview. A quarter of the job losses will be in Atlanta, where Coca-Cola is headquartered, he said.

Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent has worked to restructure distribution in the U.S. since buying the North American operations of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. in 2010. Coca-Cola, which now bottles about 80 percent of its drinks volume sold in the U.S., said in February it was paring the distribution regions to improve efficiency and cut costs.

The Coca-Cola Refreshments bottling unit now includes East, Central and West divisions.

The shares rose 1.3 percent to $40.37 at 11:45 a.m. in New York. Coca-Cola had gained 10 percent this year through yesterday compared with a 9.3 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The job cuts were reported earlier by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

To contact the reporter on this story: Duane D. Stanford in Atlanta at dstanford2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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