U.S. Deplores Divestiture by Coca-Cola

Associated Press

The State Department expressed disappointment today in the decision of the Coca-Cola Co. to sell its interests in South African companies.

"The Administration is obviously disappointed although the U.S. recognizes that it is Coca-Cola's private decision to make," department spokesman Bernard Kalb said.

"The U.S. has consistently maintained that American private businesses such as Coca-Cola have been effective proponents of positive change in South Africa."

The Atlanta-based company decided to withdraw its investments because it was dissatisfied with progress toward abolishing South Africa's apartheid, Coke spokesman Randy Donaldson said Wednesday. (Story on Page 7)

The soft-drink giant will sell its 30% interest in Amalgamated Beverage Industries, a bottling company employing about 3,800 people, and its 55% interest in a canning plant employing about 445.

Kalb said Coca-Cola has long championed improved opportunities for black South Africans.

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