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Coca-Cola Enterprises plans to use hybrid delivery trucks

BY Jenna Duncan

Coca-Cola Enterprises has announced its plans to add hybrid electric trucks to its fleet. With the additional of 142 hybrid-electric vehicles, the company will have the largest fleet of trucks of that type in North America.

Coca-Cola said adding the vehicles is part of its energy conservation plan. It will bring the delivery trucks to its operations in the United States and Canada following additions to the Midwest Coca-Cola Bottling Co. facility to be completed in August.

John Brock, chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Enterprises, said the vehicles, and other energy saving efforts, will benefit the environment and display good business practices.

Coca-Cola has also stated that its hybrid electric trucks are the largest to meet the industry in North America. Each truck costs about $85,000, much more than traditional delivery trucks. But the company seems optimistic; it said that the new hybrid electric trucks use 32 percent less fuel produce 37 percent less emissions, which should balance the cost difference eventually.

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Del Monte considers selling StarKist overseas

BY Jenna Duncan

SAN FRANCISCO Friday, June 20, Del Monte Foods Co. announced that it is in negotiations with Dongwon Group, the biggest canned tuna producer in South Korea, for ownership of the StarKist seafood business. The sale would cost Dongwon Group $300 million, according to published reports.

Del Monte has said previously that it is exploring “strategic alternatives” for the future of its seafood business, and the discussion over the future of StarKist is part of that plan.

StarKist comprises around 10 percent of Del Monte’s revenue. However, the business currently faces rising costs in seafood production.

As of yet, Dongwon Enterprise Co., the company that holds the Dongwon Group, has made no announcement on a decision. The two publicly traded companies have released separate statements to the Korean stock exchange. Also, Korean media source Maeil Business Newspaper last week reported Dongwon Group might join forces with a South Korean equity fund to front the $300 million.

Del Monte originally acquired StarKist, among other divisions and manufacturing operations, from H.J. Heinz Co. in 2002 for $2.5 billion. Several divisions, including pet food and baby food businesses, were relocated from Pittsburgh, Pa., to Del Monte’s corporate headquarters.

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Philip Morris extinguishes Marlboro Ultra Smooth cigarettes

BY Jenna Duncan

RICHMOND, Va. Philip Morris USA, an Altria Group Inc. company and the No. 1 tobacco company in the United States, has closed the doors on its Marlboro Ultra Smooth cigarettes operation. Phillip Morris said that the decision came because it’s facing hurdles in growing its tobacco business, according to published reports.

The Ultra Smooth cigarettes were being tested in Atlanta, Tampa, Fla., and Salt Lake City, but Philip Morris stopped making them April 1, the company said. It also pulled the plug on its Marlboro Ultra Lights, sold in the Phoenix area and North Dakota, and its Basic Ultra Lights cigarettes, sold in Washington state.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the sales volume for Philip Morris dropped 4.6 percent last year, a steeper decline than the overall U.S. cigarette market, which dropped about 4 percent. Furthermore, Philip Morris’ underlying sales volume dropped 3.6 percent.

The company said that it expects overall cigarette sales to drop by an annual rate of about 2.5 percent to 3 percent in the next several years.

Philip Morris said that it is looking into developing tobacco products that are less threatening to consumers’ health. Ironically, the company had previously released statements that Marlboro Ultra Smooth cigarettes had built-in activated carbon filters, designed to release nicotine, but prohibit exposure to some carcinogens found in regular cigarettes.

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