The Coca-Cola Company

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The Coca-Cola Company
Traded asNYSEKO
Dow Jones Industrial Average Component
S&P 500 Component
Founded1886 (1886)
FoundersAsa Griggs Candler, John Pemberton created the soft drink/beverage "Coca-Cola", but it was Asa Candler, who founded The Coca-Cola Company.
HeadquartersOne Coca-Cola Plaza,
Atlanta, Georgia
, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Key people
ProductsList of The Coca-Cola Company products
RevenueIncrease US$ 46.854 billion (2013)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 10.228 billion (2013)[1]
Net incomeIncrease US$ 8.584 billion (2013)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 90.055 billion (2013)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$ 33.44 billion (2013)[1]
Employees130,600 (Dec 2013)[1]
SubsidiariesList of The Coca-Cola Company subsidiaries
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This article is about the company. For the carbonated beverage, see Coca-Cola.
The Coca-Cola Company
Traded asNYSEKO
Dow Jones Industrial Average Component
S&P 500 Component
Founded1886 (1886)
FoundersAsa Griggs Candler, John Pemberton created the soft drink/beverage "Coca-Cola", but it was Asa Candler, who founded The Coca-Cola Company.
HeadquartersOne Coca-Cola Plaza,
Atlanta, Georgia
, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Key people
ProductsList of The Coca-Cola Company products
RevenueIncrease US$ 46.854 billion (2013)[1]
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 10.228 billion (2013)[1]
Net incomeIncrease US$ 8.584 billion (2013)[1]
Total assetsIncrease US$ 90.055 billion (2013)[1]
Total equityIncrease US$ 33.44 billion (2013)[1]
Employees130,600 (Dec 2013)[1]
SubsidiariesList of The Coca-Cola Company subsidiaries

The Coca-Cola Company is an American multinational beverage corporation and manufacturer, retailer and marketer of nonalcoholic beverage concentrates and syrups, which is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.[2] The company is best known for its flagship product Coca-Cola, invented in 1886 by pharmacist John Stith Pemberton in Columbus, Georgia.[3] The Coca-Cola formula and brand was bought in 1889 by Asa Griggs Candler (December 30, 1851 - March 12, 1929), who incorporated The Coca-Cola Company in 1892. The company operates a franchised distribution system dating from 1889 where The Coca-Cola Company only produces syrup concentrate which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold an exclusive territory. The Coca-Cola Company owns its anchor bottler in North America, Coca-Cola Refreshments.

Its stock is listed on the NYSE and is part of DJIA, S&P 500 index, the Russell 1000 Index and the Russell 1000 Growth Stock Index. Its current chairman and CEO is Muhtar Kent.


The company has a long history of acquisitions. Coca-Cola acquired Minute Maid in 1960,[4] the Indian cola brand Thums Up in 1993,[5] and Barq's in 1995.[6] In 2001, it acquired the Odwalla brand of fruit juices, smoothies and bars for $181 million.[7][8] In 2007, it acquired Fuze Beverage from founder Lance Collins and Castanea Partners for an estimated $250 million.[9][10] The company's 2009 bid to buy a Chinese juice maker ended when China rejected its $2.4 billion bid for the Huiyuan Juice Group on the grounds that it would be a virtual monopoly.[11] Nationalism was also thought to be a reason for aborting the deal.[12] In 1982, Coca-Cola purchased Columbia Pictures for $692 million. It sold the movie studio to Sony for $3 billion in 1989.[13]


The Coca-Cola Company's Minute Maid group North America offices in Sugar Land Town Square, Sugar Land, Texas, United States

According to the 2005 Annual Report,[14] the company sells beverage products in more than 200[15] countries. The report further states that of the more than 50 billion beverage servings of all types consumed worldwide every day, beverages bearing the trademarks owned by or licensed to Coca-Cola account for approximately 1.5 billion (the latest figure in 2010 shows that now they serve 1.6 billion drinks every day). Of these, beverages bearing the trademark "Coca-Cola" or "Coke" accounted for approximately 78% of the company's total gallon sales.

Also according to the 2007 Annual Report, Coca-Cola had gallon sales distributed as follows:

In 2010, it was announced that Coca-Cola had become the first brand to top £1 billion in annual UK grocery sales.[16]


Since 1920, Coca-Cola has been a publicly traded company.[17] One share of stock purchased in 1919 for $40, with all dividends reinvested, would be worth $9.8 million in 2012, a 10.7% annual increase, adjusted for inflation.[18] In 1987, Coca-Cola once again became one of the 30 stocks which makes up the Dow, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is commonly referenced as the performance of the stock market. It had previously been a Dow stock from 1932 to 1935.[19] Coca-Cola has paid a dividend, increasing each year for 49 years.[20][21] Stock is available from a direct purchase program, through Computershare Trust Company, but unlike many programs, has investment fees.[22]


In the U.S., Coca-Cola is a major lobbying force working to gain favorable legislation for the beverage industry. In both 2005 and 2006, it spent $1 million each year on lobbying. In 2007, that increased to $1.7 million, and by 2008, to $2.5 million. In 2009, total lobbying expenses jumped to $9.39 million.[23] Much of the increased lobbying expenses are due to the industry’s fight against increased taxes on soft drinks and other sweetened beverages.[24] For 2008, Coca-Cola had 38 lobbyists at 7 different firms lobbying on its behalf.[24]

Consumer relations[edit]

Throughout 2012, Coca-Cola contributed $1,700,500 to a $46 million political campaign known as "The Coalition Against The Costly Food Labeling Proposition, sponsored by Farmers and Food Producers" [25] This organization was set up to oppose a citizen's initiative, known as Proposition 37, demanding mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. In the aftermath of the proposition's defeat at the polls, backers called for a boycott of companies that contributed to the opposition campaign.[26]


Houston Coca-Cola Bottling Company
1996–2002 Chevrolet Express wagon from The Coca-Cola Company.

In general, The Coca-Cola Company and its subsidiaries only produce syrup concentrate, which is then sold to various bottlers throughout the world who hold a Coca-Cola franchise. Coca-Cola bottlers, who hold terrestrially exclusive contracts with the company, produce the finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. The bottlers then sell, distribute and merchandise the resulting Coca-Cola product to retail stores, vending machines, restaurants and food service distributors.

One notable exception to this general relationship between The Coca-Cola Company and bottlers is fountain syrups in the United States, where the company bypasses bottlers and is responsible for the manufacture and sale of fountain syrups directly to authorized fountain wholesalers and some fountain retailers. The Coca-Cola Company currently owns Coca-Cola Refreshments, the anchor bottler of Coca-Cola products in North America. Coca-Cola Refreshments consists of bottlers formerly owned by Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Civil rights[edit]

After Martin Luther King, Jr. won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize, plans for an interracial celebratory dinner in still-segregated Atlanta were not initially well supported by the city's business elite until Coca-Cola intervened.[27]

J. Paul Austin, the chairman and CEO of Coca-Cola, and Mayor Ivan Allen summoned key Atlanta business leaders to the Commerce Club's eighteenth floor dining room, where Austin told them flatly, 'It is embarrassing for Coca-Cola to be located in a city that refuses to honor its Nobel Prize winner. We are an international business. The Coca-Cola Co. does not need Atlanta. You all need to decide whether Atlanta needs the Coca-Cola Co.' Within two hours of the end of that meeting, every ticket to the dinner was sold.

King criticized the company's hiring policies and in his final speech called for a boycott.[29]

However, Coca-Cola has still more recently faced allegations of racial discrimination in its employment practices, and faced a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit regarding this in the early 2000s.


The Coca-Cola Company has been involved in controversies and lawsuits related to human rights violations and other unethical practices.

A number of lawsuits have been filed in relation to its allegedly monopolistic and discriminatory practices, some of which have been dismissed, some of which have caused The Coca-Cola Company to change its business practices, and some of which have been settled out of court.[30] There have been continuing criticisms regarding The Coca-Cola Company's relation to the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy.

Environmental issues[edit]

The company has been criticised on a number of environmental issues. An issue with pesticides in groundwater in 2003 led to problems for the company when an Indian NGO, Centre for Science and Environment, announced that it had found cancer causing chemicals in Coca-Cola as well as other soft drinks produced by the company, at levels 30 times that considered safe by the European Economic Commission. This caused an 11 percent drop in Indian Coca-Cola sales.[31][32] The Indian Health Minister said the CSE tests were inaccurate, and said that the government's tests found pesticide levels within India's standards but above EU standards.[33][34] The UK-based Central Science Laboratory, commissioned by Coke, found its products met EU standards in 2006.[35] Coke and the University of Michigan commissioned an independent study of its bottling plants by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), which reported in 2008 no unsafe chemicals in the water supply, though it criticized Coke for the impact of its water usage on local supply.[36]

Overuse of water supplies[edit]

Critics claim that the company's overuse of local water supplies in some locations has led to severe shortages for regional farmers and the forced closure of some plants.[37] Packaging used in Coca-Cola's products have a significant environmental impact. However, the company strongly opposes attempts to introduce mechanisms such as container deposit legislation.[38]


In Australia the company is surrounded by controversy and criticisms due to their intervention in a proposed recycling scheme in the Northern Territory. The recycling scheme was to be modeled on the existing one in South Australia, where a 10 cent refund is offered for cans and bottles. Coca-cola's plastic packaging is found in the digestive systems of countless dead native Australian birds, fish and other wildlife, however the conglomerate won a court case against the Australian government claiming that recycling schemes are "costly and ineffective. [39][40]

Union in Colombia[edit]

The company was accused of being involved in a violent repression of a union at several of its bottling plants in Colombia, South America.[41] As of August 2005, when PBS's Frontline ran a story on the controversy, Coca-Cola strenuously denied all allegations of union-busting and murder of union leaders. A few shareholders and a few U.S. colleges[42][43] have attempted to boycott Coca-Cola to exert pressure on the company to approve what they call a full-scale investigation of the charges.[44]

USDA Coca-Cola letter[edit]

On December 10, 2008, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wrote to Mr. Muhtar Kent, President and Chief Executive Officer, to warn him that the FDA had concluded that the label on Coca-Cola's product Diet Coke Plus 20 FL OZ was is in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act labeling requirements.[45] During an interview with Reuters, The Coca-Cola Company's spokesman, Scot Williams, stated, "This does not involve any health or safety issues, and we believe the label on Diet Coke Plus complies with FDA's policies and regulations."[46]

Vitamin Water lawsuit[edit]

In January 2009, the US consumer group the Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a class-action lawsuit against Coca-Cola.[47] The lawsuit was in regards to claims made, along with the company's flavors, of Vitamin Water. Claims say that the 33 grams of sugar are more harmful than the vitamins and other additives are helpful. Coca-Cola insists the suit is "ridiculous."[48][49]


The Coca-Cola Company v. Coke Cola Ltd[edit]

On 1 October 2008, Coca-Cola applied under s.69(a)(b) Companies Act 2006 for a change of name of Coke Cola Ltd which had been registered at Companies House since 29 February 2008.

On 3 December 2008, Coke Cola Ltd was ordered by the adjudicator of the Company Names Tribunal to change its name to a non-offending one. For these purposes, an offending name is one which by reason of similarity with the applicant's, interferes with the applicant's goodwill.

Also Coke Cola Ltd was ordered to not cause/permit steps to be taken for another company to be registered with an offending name, and they were ordered to pay costs of £700 to Coca-Cola.[50]

Products and brands[edit]

Coca-Cola Company's office building in Madrid (Spain).

The Coca-Cola Company offers more than 500 brands in over 200 countries, aside from its namesake Coca-Cola beverage.



Tab was Coca-Cola's first attempt to develop a diet soft drink, using saccharin as a sugar substitute. Introduced in 1963, the product is still sold today, although its sales have dwindled since the introduction of Diet Coke. The Tab soft drink is very hard to find now-a-days as Diet Coke has become its replacement.[citation needed]

Other soft drinks[edit]

The Coca-Cola Company also produces a number of other soft drinks including Fanta (introduced circa 1941) and Sprite. Fanta's origins date back to World War II during a trade embargo against Germany on cola syrup, making it impossible to sell Coca-Cola in Germany. Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola's German office during the war, decided to create a new product for the German market, made from products only available in Germany at the time, which they named Fanta.[51] The drink proved to be a hit, and when Coke took over again after the war, it adopted the Fanta brand as well. Fanta was originally an orange flavored drink which can come in plastic bottles or cans. It has become available in many different flavors now such as grape, peach, grapefruit, apple, pineapple and strawberry.

In 1961 Coca-Cola introduced Sprite, another of the company's bestsellers and its response to 7 Up.

An ad in Berlin, Germany.

Coca-Cola South Africa also released Valpre Bottled "still" and "sparkling" water.

Columbia Pictures[edit]

Coca-Cola bought Columbia Pictures in 1981 owing to the low monetary value of the studio. The film company was the first and only studio ever owned by Coca-Cola. During its ownership of the studio (their introduction to the film industry), the studio released many popular films including Ghostbusters, Stripes, The Karate Kid, and some others. However, after the 1987 film Ishtar, Columbia was sold to Sony Pictures Entertainment.


Main article: BreakMate

No longer manufactured, the Coca-Cola BreakMate was a three-flavour dispenser introduced by Coca-Cola and Siemens in 1988. Intended for use in offices with five to fifty people,[52] its refrigerated compartment held three individual one-litre plastic containers of soda syrup and a CO2 tank. Like a soda fountain, it mixed syrup in a 1:5 ratio with carbonated water. In North America, Coca-Cola discontinued spare BreakMate parts in 2007 and stopped distributing the syrup in 2010.[53]

Healthy beverages[edit]

During the 1990s, the company responded to the growing consumer interest in healthy beverages by introducing several new non-carbonated beverage brands. These included Minute Maid Juices to Go, Powerade sports beverage, flavored tea Nestea (in a joint venture with Nestle), Fruitopia fruit drink and Dasani water, among others. In 2001, Minute Maid division launched the Simply Orange brand of juices including orange juice.

In 2004, perhaps in response to the burgeoning popularity of low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins Diet, Coca-Cola announced its intention to develop and sell a low-carbohydrate alternative to Coke Classic, dubbed C2 Cola. C2 contains a mix of high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sucralose, and Acesulfame potassium. C2 is designed to more closely emulate the taste of Coca-Cola Classic. Even with less than half of the food energy and carbohydrates of standard soft drinks, C2 is not a replacement for zero-calorie soft drinks such as Diet Coke. C2 went on sale in the U.S. on June 11, 2004, and in Canada in August 2004. C2's future is uncertain due to disappointing sales.

Best selling[edit]

Coca-Cola is the best-selling soft drink in most countries, and was recognized as the number one global brand in 2010.[54] While the Middle East is one of the only regions in the world where Coca-Cola is not the number one soda drink, Coca-Cola nonetheless holds almost 25% marketshare (to Pepsi's 75%) and had double-digit growth in 2003.[55] Similarly, in Scotland, where the locally produced Irn-Bru was once more popular, 2005 figures show that both Coca-Cola and Diet Coke now outsell Irn-Bru.[56] In Peru, the native Inca Kola has been more popular than Coca-Cola, which prompted Coca-Cola to enter in negotiations with the soft drink's company and buy 50% of its stakes. In Japan, the best selling soft drink is not cola, as (canned) tea and coffee are more popular.[57] As such, The Coca-Cola Company's best selling brand there is not Coca-Cola, but Georgia.[58] In South Australia, the locally owned Farmers Union Iced Coffee is the most consumed beverage (3:1 ratio to Coca Cola in 2008). South Australia is the only place in the world where a milk product outsells Coca Cola.


On July 6, 2006, a Coca-Cola employee and two other people were arrested and charged with trying to sell trade secrets information to the soft drink maker's competitor, PepsiCo for $1.5 million. The recipe for Coca-Cola, perhaps the company's most closely guarded secret, was never in jeopardy. Instead, the information was related to a new beverage in development. Coca-Cola executives verified that the documents were valid and proprietary. At least one glass vial containing a sample of a new drink was offered for sale, court documents said. The conspiracy was revealed by PepsiCo, which notified the authorities when they were approached by the conspirators.[59]

Green tea[edit]

The company announced a new "negative calorie" green tea drink, Enviga, in 2006, along with trying coffee retail concepts Far Coast and Chaqwa.


On May 25, 2007, Coca-Cola announced it would purchase Glaceau, a maker of flavored vitamin-enhanced drinks (vitamin water), flavored waters, and Burn energy drinks, for $4.1 billion in cash.[60]

Huiyuan Juice[edit]

On September 3, 2008, Coca-Cola announced its intention to make cash offers to purchase China Huiyuan Juice Group Limited (which has a 42% share of the Chinese pure fruit juice market[61]) for US$2.4bn (HK$12.20 per share).[62] China's ministry of commerce blocked the deal on March 18, 2009, arguing that the deal would hurt small local juice companies, could have pushed up juice market prices and limited consumers’ choices.[63]

Coke Minilmini[edit]

In October 2009, Coca-Cola revealed its new 90-calorie mini can that holds 7.5 fluid ounces.[64] The first shipments are expected to reach the New York City and Washington D.C. markets in December 2009 and nationwide by March 2010.[64][dated info]

Holiday can[edit]

In November 2011 for the Winter Holidays, Coca-Cola revealed a white can that contained regular Coke instead of Diet Coke, but it was quickly withdrawn only a month after release due to consumer complaints about the similar look to the silver cans commonly used for Diet Coke. There were also complaints about deviating from the traditional red color of Coca-Cola cans.[65]

World of Coca-Cola[edit]

Coca-Cola operates a soft drink themed tourist attraction in downtown Atlanta, Ga; the "World of Coca-Cola" is a multi-storied exhibition of the many flavors sold by the company as well as a museum to the history of the company.

Stake in Monster[edit]

It was announced on August 14, 2014, that Coca-Cola Co is making a cash payment of $2.15 billion for a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage Corp to expand its market for energy drinks. Coke's ownership in Full Throttle and Burn will be transferred to Monster. In return, Monster will transfer its ownership in Hansen's Natural Sodas and Peace Iced Tea to Coke. Muhtar Kent, Coke's Chief Executive Officer, stated that the company has the option to increase its stake to 25 percent but cannot exceed that percentage in the next four years.[66][67]


Coca-cola's advertising expenses accounted for 3.256 billion dollars in 2011.[68]


Coca-Cola sponsored the English Football League from the beginning of the 2004–05 season (beginning August 2004) to the start of 2010/11 season, when the Football League replaced it with NPower.

Along with this, Coca-Cola sponsored the Coca-Cola Football Camp, that took place in Pretoria, South Africa during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, during which hundreds of teenagers from around the world were able to come together and share their love of the game, partly due to Best Buy's efforts through their @15 program.[69]

Other major sponsorships include NHRA, NASCAR, the NBA, the PGA Tour, NCAA Championships, the Olympic Games, the NRL, the FIFA World Cups and the UEFA European Championships.

In the Philippines, it has a team in the Philippine Basketball Association, the Powerade Tigers.


The company sponsors the hit Fox singing-competition series American Idol. Coca-Cola is a sponsor of the nightly talk show on PBS, Charlie Rose in the US.[70]

In video games[edit]

In PlayStation Home, the PlayStation 3's online community-based service, Coca-Cola placed a vending machine in Home that took users to a space called the "Georgia Break Station". The vending machine also distributed original avatar items and presented, along with "C-pons", digital coupons that could be used to get real drinks from real vending machines. This was to promote the Georgia series of canned coffee. The space was a lounge where users could sit and chat and included two in-lounge avatars that told the users about the Georgia coffee. It was available from September 7, 2009 to December 17, 2009 in the Japanese version of Home.[71][unreliable source?]

Coca-Cola was featured in the Japanese version of the Sega Dreamcast title Shenmue. The protagonist, Ryo Hazuki, is able to purchase the beverage from various vending locations within the game and obtains the actual cans that would have been available for retail purchase in Japan in 1986.[72]

Also in Japan, was made a spot of Cocacola with Final Fantasy IX [73]

In the Fallout game series a common drink found in the game is "Nuka-Cola", a reference to Coca Cola.

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]