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COCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED'S BOARD APPROVES SUNBELT DEAL; ACQUISITION CREATES SECOND LARGEST COKE BOTTLER IN U.S.

 COCA-COLA CONSOLIDATED'S BOARD APPROVES SUNBELT DEAL;
 ACQUISITION CREATES SECOND LARGEST COKE BOTTLER IN U.S.
 CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Coca-Cola Consolidated's (NASDAQ-NMS: COKE) Board of Directors today approved the purchase of 100 percent of the stock of Sunbelt Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc., a major soft drink bottler with franchise territories in South and North Carolina.
 Company officials expect to close on the acquisition this week. The total value of the transaction, including the price paid for the equity, the debt to be refinanced and debt to be assumed is approximately $300 million.
 The acquisition makes Coca-Cola Consolidated the second largest Coke bottler in the U.S., with projected annual sales of more than $600 million. The Charlotte-based company will have more than 3,700 employees and will operate roughly 70 production, sales and distribution centers across the Southeast.
 Coke Consolidated Vice Chairman Frank Harrison, III called the acquisition one of the most important in the company's history. "This significant growth provides tremendous opportunities for Coke Consolidated and its employees," he said. "We expect to quickly and successfully integrate Sunbelt's operations into our company. Coke Consolidated is experienced in bringing operating efficiencies, quality products, excellent service and aggressive marketing to newly acquired territories."
 The additional franchise territories include most of the population centers in South Carolina, including Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Hilton Head, as well as parts of Eastern North Carolina and all of Western North Carolina, including Asheville, Hickory, Boone, and North Wilkesboro.
 Harrison said the acquisition will enable Coke Consolidated to achieve significant cost savings in purchasing, production, transportation and administrative expenses while allowing the company to expand its marketing programs to thousands of new retail customers and million of new consumers.
 "We plan to make significant investments in these new territories for capital improvements, new vehicles and vending equipment, which we believe will enhance our ability to achieve substantial volume growth," he said. The company has already made commitments to purchase 20 new route delivery trucks for the Western North Carolina territory alone.
 Further, Harrison said Coke Consolidated is planning to reopen several facilities Sunbelt had closed in recent years making them full- fledged sales and distribution centers with Coca-Cola presence and employees in those communities.
 Also today, Coca-Cola Consolidated President and CEO Jim Moore named Norman George Regional Vice President to head the management team for the newly acquired territories. George has been VP/Manager of the company's Southern (NC) Division in Charlotte for three years. Bob Howell, Coca-Cola Consolidated's General Manager in Nashville, has been named VP/Manager of the Western South Carolina Division, Andy Harris has been named VP/Manager of the Western North Carolina Division and John Cline will be VP/Manager of the Eastern North Carolina Division. Harris and Cline held those positions with Sunbelt.
 -0- 12/18/91
 /CONTACT: Lauren C. Steele, VP-Corporate Affairs, Coca-Cola Consolidated, 704-551-4551/
 (COKE) CO: Coca-Cola Consolidated; Sunbelt Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: SU: TNM


DF -- CH013 -- 3534 12/18/91 15:52 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 18, 1991
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