Business Council of Alabama member Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED in Birmingham today announced it has acquired 10 new sales and production territories in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi.
Today’s announcement of new territories culminates a four-year expansion that more than tripled the company’s size and added thousands of employees, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED said in a release. Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED said it plans to invest more than $9 million in infrastructure, facility improvements, and fleet in the new territories.
The transactions were with Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated and The Coca-Cola Company in Florence, Leroy, Mobile, and Robertsdale in Alabama; Panama City in Florida; Bainbridge, Columbus, and Sylvester in Georgia; and Laurel and Ocean Springs in Mississippi. The production facility is in Mobile.
Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED, founded in 1902, added more than 920 associates and 100 new employees have been added to support UNITED’s commitment to providing dedicated and unparalleled customer service and strong community engagement, the company said.
“These new territories make for a more contiguous franchise footprint for our company and will enable us to more effectively serve our customers and consumers throughout the seven Southeastern states where we operate,” said John H. Sherman, president and chief executive officer, Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. “We’re extremely impressed with the caliber of associates that are joining the UNITED family, many of whom we already know. They are highly motivated and have a work ethic that is focused on serving one another as associates, serving our customers, and serving the communities where we live and work.”
The business transactions announced today are part of the The Coca-Cola Company’s broadly based refranchising efforts throughout the United States. The Coca-Cola Company developed its 21st Century Beverage Partnership Model, internally called “System of the Future,” to align bottlers and optimize their capability to better serve customers and maintain strong, local ties across diverse Coca-Cola markets, the company said.
“We have been on a four-year journey with UNITED to transform their territory, and we are incredibly proud of all the great work we’ve accomplished together,” said J. Alexander “Sandy” Douglas Jr., president, Coca-Cola North America. “It’s exciting to see UNITED take on a bigger role within the system as we strengthen our community ties across the United States. UNITED has lived and celebrated our shared values for more than 100 years as a respected member of the community.”
Beginning with the acquisition of Oxford, Ala., in March of 2014, and ending with today’s acquisitions, Coca-Cola UNITED has successfully acquired more than 40 additional facilities and market territories, as well as transitioned more than 7,000 new associates and about 100,000 customers into the UNITED family, the company said.
To sustain its local business operating model, UNITED increased its workforce by approximately 10 percent to 15 percent in the markets it acquired. In addition, almost $300 million in capital investments have been made to build new, or improve existing, facilities for associates, as well as add to its fleet and upgrade equipment in an effort to better serve customers.
Coca-Cola UNITED has also added close to 100 positions in Birmingham within its Customer Solutions Center and Corporate Services Division to support the growth in its field operations and customer engagement.
“What our Coca-Cola UNITED team has achieved in the past four years is nothing short of amazing, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration and partnership we have with our colleagues from Coca-Cola North America,” said Claude Nielsen, executive chairman of Coca-Cola Bottling Company UNITED. “UNITED has more than tripled in size since 2014, and we’ve grown from fewer than 3,000 associates to an organization of almost 10,000 associates, serving more than 150,000 customers throughout our seven states, and staying true to UNITED’s core values of Quality, Excellence, Integrity and Respect. This has truly been an epic transformation of our company.”
Coca-Cola UNITED, founded in 1902, is the largest privately held Coca-Cola bottler in North America and third largest in the U.S. It has approximately 10,000 associates in 54 sales and distribution centers and nine production facilities throughout seven Southeastern states.