LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Coca-Cola opened a new chapter in its 114-year history in Louisville, KY today as Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (NASDAQ: COKE) celebrated the grand opening of its new Sales and Distribution Center and made its formal debut as Louisville’s new Coca-Cola bottler.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer joined Coca-Cola officials, civic and community leaders and key customers at an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at the company’s new 305,000 square foot sales and distribution center in Southwest Louisville.
“We are very excited about being the new Coca-Cola bottler in Louisville and becoming part of the Louisville community,” said Coca-Cola Consolidated Chairman & CEO Frank Harrison. “This is a great, vibrant city with a long Coca-Cola history. We look forward to serving our customers and consumers from this new, state of the art facility.”
Charlotte NC-based Coca-Cola Consolidated, the nation’s largest independent Coca-Cola bottler, formally became the Coca-Cola bottler for the Louisville Coca-Cola franchise at the end of February. On the 25-acre site in Southwest Louisville, the company has renovated a once-vacant warehouse, created office space and added 100,000 square feet of new construction for a make ready center with an investment of more than $12 million.
“I am very pleased to welcome Coca-Cola Consolidated to the City of Louisville,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This major investment in their new facility is a positive statement about the company’s commitment to Louisville, and we look forward to working with Coca-Cola Consolidated as they become part of the Louisville community.”
“Coca-Cola has a long history in Louisville,” said James Reddish, Vice President of Greater Louisville, Inc (GLI). “On behalf of the business community, we want to welcome GLI top investor Coca-Cola Consolidated to our city and applaud them for the significant investment in this new facility and their commitment to strengthen our region.”
The new facility will handle sales and distribution of Coca-Cola products in a 21-county area stretching from Owen County to Hardin County in Kentucky and Jefferson County to Harrison County in Indiana. The company currently has 350 employees working in the Louisville franchise territory. In addition, a new ‘make ready center’, which will handle deployment and refurbishing of vending and other sales equipment, is still under construction and will open later this spring. The facility is located on Global Drive in Southwest Louisville.
Louisville traces its Coca-Cola history back to 1901 when it became the third franchise to sell what was to become the world’s best-selling soft drink and most recognized trademark. “Louisville has played a significant role in the history of Coca-Cola and was one of the first cities in the world to bottle and sell this great brand,” Harrison said. A fourth-generation bottler himself, Harrison’s family roots in the business started with his great-grandfather, J.B. Harrison, who launched Coca-Cola in Greensboro, NC in 1902. Over the last century Coca-Cola Consolidated has expanded to become the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States.
The plan for Coca-Cola Consolidated to acquire the Louisville franchise territory from an affiliate of The Coca-Cola Company was first announced in early 2013 and a definitive purchase agreement for the acquisition was signed in December 2014. In addition to the Louisville franchise, Coca-Cola Consolidated also acquired the franchise in Evansville, Indiana. The Company has signed definitive purchase agreements for additional Kentucky franchises, including Lexington, Pikeville and Paducah, and hopes to conclude those transactions later in 2015.
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.
Cautionary Information Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Included in this news release and other information that we make publicly available from time to time are forward-looking management comments and other statements that reflect management’s current outlook for our performance in future periods and management’s expectations for the proposed territory expansion described in the Letter of Intent between the Company and The Coca-Cola Company entered into in April 2013. Consummation of the plan for Coca-Cola Consolidated to acquire the Louisville and Evansville franchise territories and the other transactions contemplated by the definitive purchase agreement is subject to a number of conditions precedent and future events occurring that are described in our filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
These statements and expectations are based on currently available competitive, financial and economic data along with our operating plans and are subject to future events and uncertainties that could cause anticipated events not to occur or actual results to differ materially from historical or anticipated results. Among the other events or uncertainties which could adversely affect our performance in future periods are: lower than expected selling pricing resulting from increased marketplace competition; changes in how significant customers market or promote our products; changes in our top customer relationships; changes in public and consumer preferences related to nonalcoholic beverages; unfavorable changes in the general economy; miscalculation of our need for infrastructure investment; our inability to meet requirements under beverage agreements; material changes in the performance requirements for marketing funding support or our inability to meet such requirements; decreases from historic levels of marketing funding support; changes in The Coca-Cola Company’s and other beverage companies’ levels of advertising, marketing and spending on brand innovation; the inability of our aluminum can or plastic bottle suppliers to meet our purchase requirements; our inability to offset higher raw material costs with higher selling prices, increased bottle/can sales volume or reduced expenses; consolidation of raw material suppliers could impact our profitability; increased purchases of finished goods subject us to incremental risks that could impact our profitability; sustained increases in fuel costs or our inability to secure adequate supplies of fuel; sustained increases in workers’ compensation, employment practices and vehicle accident claims costs; sustained increases in the cost of employee benefits; product liability claims or product recalls; technology failures; changes in interest rates; the impact of debt levels on operating flexibility and access to capital and credit markets; adverse changes in our credit rating (whether as a result of our operations or prospects or as a result of those of The Coca-Cola Company or other bottlers in the Coca-Cola system); changes in legal contingencies; legislative changes affecting our distribution and packaging; adoption of significant product labeling or warning requirements; additional taxes resulting from tax audits; natural disasters and unfavorable weather; global climate change or legal or regulatory responses to such change; issues surrounding labor relations; bottler system disputes; our use of estimates and assumptions; changes in accounting standards; impact of obesity and health concerns on product demand; public policy challenges regarding the sale of soft drinks in schools; the impact of volatility in the financial markets on access to the credit markets; the impact of acquisitions or dispositions of bottlers by their franchisors; and the concentration of our capital stock ownership. The forward-looking statements in this news release should be read in conjunction with the more detailed descriptions of the above factors located in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 29, 2013 under Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” as well as those additional factors we may describe from time to time in other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information or future events or developments.