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Coca-Cola is by far the biggest soft drink name in the world. Its roots began in 1886, when John Pemberton originally intended to patent the drink as a medicine. The first drink was sold in Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, and was marketed as a cure for morphine addiction, dysepsia, neurasthenia, and many other diseases.
Eventually, businessman Asa Griggs Candler bought Coca-Cola and expanded the businesses well beyond Atlanta. By the end of the 19th century, demand for the drink skyrocketed, allowing the company to grow rapidly. Now, Coca-Cola is a household staple, with hundreds of brands under its umbrella. Considering Coca-Cola’s long history and success record, investors have also embraced the company as a sound investment (see Best Global Brands That Pay Dividends).
Some investors, however, may notice several stocks bearing the name “Coca-Cola.” The Coca-Cola Company (originally founded by Candler) trades under the ticker (KO ), and is the producer of the concentrate used to make Coca-Cola’s soft drinks. The bottlers, some of which are publicly traded, hold exclusive territorial rights with the Coca-Cola company to produce the finished product in cans and bottles.
The company and its bottlers vary across several key aspects including size, yield, and dividend growth (Please note that all data is as of 1/12/2015):
The Coca-Cola Company (KO ) is the largest soft-drink manufacturer on the market. The company, founded in 1886, currently has more than 500 sparkling and still brands including Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, Vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia, and Del Valle. According to Coca-Cola’s website, the company serves consumers in more than 200 countries at a rate of 1.9 billion servings a day.
Founded in 1986 and based in Atlanta, Georgia, Coca-Cola Enterprises Liquid error: internal is the third largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world, handing approximately 8% of the Coca-Cola system’s global volume. The company operates in eight territories in Western Europe: Belgium, Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden (see Forget Apple, Buy Its Suppliers).
Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Coca-Cola HBC AG Liquid error: internal is yet another bottler and vendor of Coca-Cola products wordwide. Its operations are based in Europe across 28 developed and emerging countries, including: Italy, Greece, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, Cyprus, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Russia, Romania, Nigeria, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, and Moldova .
Learn everything you need to know about Foreign Dividend Stocks here.
Founding in 1890 in Monterrey, Mexico, Fomento Economico Mexicano, SAB (FMX ) is comprised of two main business units: the Coca-Cola FEMSA and FEMSA Comercio. The Coca-Cola unit is the largest public bottler of Coca-Cola products; bottles from this unit account for approximately one out of every 10 Coca-Cola products sold globally. Fomento Economico also owns and operates a chain of small-format stores under the OXXO brand name in Mexico and Columbia. The company also holds a 20% stake in Heineken.
A subsidiary of Fomento Economico Mexicano (FMX ), Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOF ) is a franchise bottler, producer, marketer, seller, and distributor of Coca-Cola trademark beverages. The company also sells and distributes Kaiser beers. Its operations are primarily based in Mexico, though it does have distribution centers and retailers in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Brazil, and Argentina (see also Measuring & Managing Risk: A Dividend Investor’s Guide).
Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (COKE ) is one of the largest bottlers, sellers, and distributors of Coca-Cola products in the U.S. It operates in 11 states, primarily in the Southeast; COKE holds bottling rights in North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia, as well as in portions of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida. In addition, the company also distributes other brands such as Dr. Pepper and its own products including Tum-E Yummies and Fuel in a Bottle.
While the Coca-Cola Company (KO ) may be the most popular pick for investors, there are several noteworthy bottlers that are compelling options. Each of these bottlers provide exposure to different regions of the world, as well as varying dividend profiles.