Coca-Cola will offer buyouts in coming months, number unspecified

Beverage giant moves to cut costs with restructuring

Coca-Cola has confirmed reports that it is planning to offer buyouts to some employees as the company moves to cut costs.

A spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based beverage icon said a restructuring is in the works, and described it as a “voluntary separation program,” but declined to say anything about the magnitude of the cuts.

The company has about 6,000 North American employees including subsidiaries Bodyarmor and Fairlife.

In its official statement, the company said it went through “a transformation” in 2021 during a pandemic-adjusted strategy dubbed “Emerging Stronger” when a number of underperforming products were discontinued.

“As a result, we are now operating from a position of strength,” the statement said. “We are now embarking on a new chapter to evolve how we operate, reduce complexity, and improve speed.”

That chapter includes changes — implicitly reductions — in the workforce, said the spokeswoman.

Job cuts are in the air, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s campaign against inflation. That effort has depended on the central bank’s steady hikes to short-term interest rates, which have already sent much of the housing market into a tailspin.

Several large companies have announced layoffs, although overall, the economy added 261,000 jobs in October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. That was the slowest monthly growth since late 2020. The unemployment rate rose to 3.7% and the share of working-age people in the workforce declined.

“Over the last few months, the job market has consistently signaled that it is cooling,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist for Glassdoor, a job listing and research site.

Plans for the buyouts were first reported by Beverage Digest.

Shares of Coca-Cola on Wall Street closed at $59.26 a share on Friday, edging up 48 cents on the day. Within the past year, company shares have traded between a low of $52.30 last December and a high of $66.21 in April.

During the past month, Coke’s highest closing price was $60.78 on Oct. 28.

Last year, Coke revenues were $38.7 billion. During its most recent quarter, reported last week, revenues were $11 billion. The company said at the time that it expected improved results in the coming year.