Coca-Cola to cut 2,200 jobs worldwide amid Covid-19 challenges

Coke is navigating changing consumer tastes along with extended shutdowns of public venues that account for a significant portion of its sales. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Coca-Cola is cutting 2,200 jobs worldwide, including 1,200 in the US, as the soda maker deepens its restructuring efforts amid ongoing shutdowns of soft-drink friendly venues like movie theatres, bars and stadiums.

The reductions, totaling 2.5 per cent of the company's total workforce, involve a combination of voluntary buyouts and layoffs, a spokesman said on Thursday (Dec 17) via email. Coke had about 86,200 employees at the beginning of the year, including 10,400 in the US.

"We are in the process of building an organisational structure that will address" customers' needs and behaviours, the company said. "The pandemic was not a cause for these changes, but it has been a catalyst for the company to move faster."

The latest move comes after the company offered early-departure packages to almost 40 per cent of its North American workforce in August. It said then that involuntary cuts would follow.

Like other makers of sugary beverages, Coke is navigating changing consumer tastes, as products such as flavoured seltzers gain in popularity, along with extended shutdowns of public venues that account for a significant portion of its sales.

The workforce overhaul will result in expenses of US$350 million to US$550 million, the company said. Coke said that annual savings will be a similar amount.

The company's shares rose less than 1 per cent in New York trading on Thursday. The stock has declined 3.8 per cent this year, trailing the broader market. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Coke's job cut plans.

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