Company snaps up 10 Coke bottling franchises in Pennsylvania

Markets Associated Press

A franchise that already controlled two Coca-Cola bottlers in Pennsylvania has snapped up 11 more in the state and West Virginia.

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The Erie Times-News reports Abarta Coca-Cola Beverages, of Pittsburgh, has bought Erie's Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Abarta plans to keep all 104 workers there, which supplies Erie, Crawford, Forest, McKean, Potter and Warren counties in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Abarta already handled Coke distribution in Downingtown, the Lehigh Valley, and in Cleveland, Ohio. It's adding Pittsburgh, Greensburg, Ebensburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Reading, DuBois, Milton, and Mount Pocono in Pennsylvania, along with Fairmont, West Virginia.

Chief Executive Charles Bitzer says the acquisitions are tripling the size of the company from about 550 employees to more than 1,500.

Atlanta-based Coca-Cola bought the North American territories by 2010, but has since started selling the franchises.

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Information from: Erie Times-News, http://www.goerie.com