Mecca Cola announced its product launch across the Middle East

The Atlanta Journal and Constitution



Georgia Blue Chips

BYLINE: From staff and news services


SECTION: Business

TYPE: Briefs


Environmental activists take on five utilities A shareholder group has filed resolutions that would require five leading electric utilities, including Southern Co., to report the economic risks associated with carbon dioxide emissions, which have been linked to global warming.

A coalition that includes Connecticut’s Plans and Trust Fund and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility said resolutions had been filed for votes at annual meetings of Southern, American Electric Power of Ohio, Xcel Energy of Minneapolis, TXU Corp. of Dallas and Cinergy Corp. of Cincinnati.

The companies are the five largest producers of carbon dioxide emissions among U.S. investor-owned electric utilities. The group calls them “the Filthy Five.”

The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies, a Boston-based activist group, organized a conference call to announce the resolutions.

Tiffany Gilstrap, a Southern Co. spokeswoman, declined to comment on whether company management would oppose the resolution at the company’s May 28 annual meeting.

But Southern already reports to its shareholders on the “costs associated with doing business and meeting our environmental commitments,” she said.

— Matthew C. Quinn


Belgian water brand pursued

Coca-Cola plans to grab a piece of Belgium’s water market.

Coke has signed a nonbinding letter of intent to buy Monopole water from a Belgian beverage company, Chaudfontaine.

“With this acquisition, we will establish a presence in the Belgian water category,” said Ludo Bammens, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Enterprises, Coke’s bottler in Belgium.

Coke has been making a variety of moves to expand its presence in the worldwide bottled water market, including recent acquisitions in Europe and Mexico.

Monopole has about 6 percent of Belgium’s water market.



The planned deal only involves Monopole and none of Chaudfontaine’s other beverage brands.

Also: Mecca-Cola a French company created to protest U.S. foreign policy, Mecca Cola announced its product launch across the Middle East on Thursday.

The company, which has sold its slightly less sweet cola in Europe for two months, has signed sales and distribution agreements with companies for distribution across most of the Middle East and North Africa, founder Tawfik Mathlouthi said in Dubai.

“Cola is the pre-eminent symbol of U.S. culture,” Mathlouthi said.

Mathlouthi said his company hopes to send a message to the Bush administration that Muslims want a just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Mathlouthi named the drink after the city of Mecca, the religious heart of Islam.

Coke, along with many U.S. companies, saw a negative effect on sales in 2002 because of Muslim calls for boycotts. Coke spokesman Steve Leroy declined to give exact figures on sales declines but said the impact has decreased in recent months.

The Middle East is a small market for Coca-Cola, accounting for 8 percent of the sales in the company’s division that includes Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East.

— From staff and news services

> ON THE WEB: For more information about this topic: www.ajc.com/business/coke/


Mirant sells S. Korean asset

Meiya Power Co., a Hong Kong-based investment vehicle, bought the right to complete a $300 million South Korean power plant from Atlanta-based Mirant Corp.

Meiya paid Mirant $10 million for the right to build the plant, said James Peters, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based power-plant developer and energy trader, which recorded a $34 million after-tax loss on the project in the third quarter.

Mirant has been selling assets in a drive to reduce debt and shore up its balance sheet.

— From staff and news services


Virginia pilot loses credentials

A Delta Air Lines pilot who failed a Breathalyzer test in Norfolk, Va., last month was stripped of his pilot certificate and medical certificate, according to Federal Aviation Administration documents released Thursday. He cannot fly without them. Delta is still investigating his case, a company spokesman said.

Gary Alan Schroeder, 42, of Yorktown, Va., arrived at the Norfolk airport for an early morning flight on Dec. 26 when a security screener reported alcohol on his breath. The Breathalyzer test registered .07. The legal limit for pilots is .04.

— Mary Lou Pickel

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