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Sale of Tonawanda Coca-Cola plant completed

Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England has closed on an acquisition that includes a Town of Tonawanda Coca-Cola plant and its Western New York territory.

The deal eliminated manufacturing at the Tonawanda plant, which ceased bottling in mid-May. Sales and distribution at the plant, "remain fully active," according to Nick Martin, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Co. of Northern New England. The plant had more than 180 workers when the acquisition was first announced. It now has 171 workers, and most production workers have transitioned to other roles, the New Hampshire company said.

"It’s important to note that there have not been any job losses as a result of production ending," Martin said.

Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Buffalo's territory includes both Erie and Niagara counties, as well as parts of Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Orleans, Genesee and Allegheny counties.

"We are fully committed to the Buffalo market, and we have already invested in new technology, such as handheld devices, and training for associates in Tonawanda," Martin said. He added the New Hampshire company "has built a strong reputation on great people and great brands, which will remain the key ingredients to our success going forward."

The overall acquisition gives territory from across Western and Upstate New York and part of Pennsylvania, as well as six other states, to the 40-year-old Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England. Its New Hampshire production center is considered state-of-the-art and environmentally sustainable, the company said. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kirin Holdings Co., which is based in Japan.

The Buffalo plant is located at located at 150 and 200 Milens Road in the Town of Tonawanda. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The change is part of the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co.'s plan to restructure its franchising operations across North America by the end of 2017. Its goal is to create a "21st Century Beverage Partnership Model" which streamlines the company's bottling, customer service and product supply, and creates a revamped, universal IT system. It worked several years to consolidate its distribution network in the past. The Coca-Cola Co. employs 700,000 people around the world.

The Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Buffalo had been owned by Pittsburgh-based food, beverage and energy company ABARTA since 1980.

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