CHARLOTTE, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (NASDAQ: COKE), the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement with an affiliate of The Coca-Cola Company to expand the bottler’s franchise territory to include the Paducah and Pikeville territories currently served by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. (CCR), a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company. This agreement represents the last phase of the proposed franchise territory expansion described in the previously-announced Letter of Intent from April 2013 between the Company and The Coca-Cola Company. The Company expects the transaction to close in early May 2015.
As previously disclosed, the Company has signed definitive agreements with an affiliate of The Coca-Cola Company to exchange the bottler’s franchise territory in Jackson, TN for territory currently served by CCR in Lexington, KY and to expand the bottler’s franchise territory to include Louisville, KY and Evansville, IN.
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated Chairman and CEO J. Frank Harrison III said, “We are pleased to announce the signing of a definitive agreement for the last phase of our previously announced transaction with The Coca-Cola Company. The signing of this definitive agreement continues our expansion in Kentucky. We look forward to serving the Paducah and Pikeville communities – including our customers, consumers, and new employees there.”
The definitive agreement and other agreements to be entered into at closing will provide the Company the exclusive rights to distribute beverage brands owned by The Coca-Cola Company as well as certain other beverage brands not owned by The Coca-Cola Company that are currently being distributed in the Paducah and Pikeville territories by CCR. The transaction includes the purchase by the Company of distribution assets and certain working capital items from CCR relating to these territories and the purchase of exclusive rights to distribute certain non-Coca-Cola beverage brands in these territories. The transaction also includes the grant by CCR to the Company of exclusive rights to distribute beverage brands owned by The Coca-Cola Company in these territories under a comprehensive beverage agreement to be entered into at closing. Under such agreement, the Company will make a quarterly sub-bottling payment to CCR on a continuing basis after the closing for the grant of such exclusive rights. The Company will not acquire any production assets from CCR and will, with certain exceptions, purchase finished goods from CCR to service customers in these territories.
Closing of the transaction is subject to the parties satisfying certain conditions. There can be no assurances that these conditions will be satisfied or, if not satisfied, waived. The Company will file a Current Report on Form 8-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the proposed transaction that will be available on the Commission’s website at http://www.sec.gov and on the Company’s website at http://www.cokeconsolidated.com. For more information about the transaction, including the closing conditions and about the Company’s relationship with The Coca-Cola Company, investors should read the information included in the Company’s Current Report on Form 8-K and the agreements filed as exhibits to such report.
Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Coca-Cola Consolidated is the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler with franchise territories in 11 states. The Company’s current major markets include: Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, Greenville, the Triad, and Asheville in NC; Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston in SC; Charleston, Beckley, and Parkersburg in WV; Roanoke and Bristol in VA; Cleveland, Nashville, Johnson City, Morristown and Knoxville in TN; Columbus and Albany in GA; Mobile, AL; Panama City, FL; and Biloxi, MS.