The Coca-Cola Co. said Wednesday it is nearing the completion of its refranchising plan for the U.S. with a new letter of intent for territory in the Northeast. Coca-Cola Refreshments executives Paul Mulligan and Fran McGorry are planning a new bottling company to be called Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages LLC, and have signed a letter of intent for an area that includes metropolitan New York, Philadelphia, most of the state of New Jersey and part of Delaware, plus four production facilities. "This is a critical milestone in a journey that dates back more than a decade," said J. Alexander Douglas Jr., President, Coca-Cola North America, in a statement. Coca-Cola shares were flat in premarket trade, but have gained 7% in 2017, matching the performance of the S&P 500 . The Dow Jones Industrial Average , which counts Coca-Cola as a member, has gained 6% in 2017.
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