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7/31/97 Mission board sells Coke stock after links made to brewery

GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–The Southern Baptist International Mission Board has sold all of its stock in Coca-Cola after a Wall Street Journal article July 28 reported the soft-drink manufacturer owns 10 percent of a brewery in Brazil.
The sale totaled about $6.5 million.
Carl Johnson, IMB vice president for finance, announced the sale during a July 28-31 meeting of trustees at Glorieta (N.M.) Baptist Conference Center.
About 8 percent, or $16 million, of the mission board’s 1997 budget of $205.5 million is expected to come from investment income. But the board has policies prohibiting investments in companies involved in tobacco, alcohol, gambling, pornography or abortion.
After reading the Wall Street Journal article, board staff contacted Coca-Cola for an explanation, and the company did not deny the accuracy of the story, Johnson said. Staff then told the investment manager holding the stock to immediately sell it.
The Journal article identified Kaiser as the Brazilian beer connected with Coca-Cola.
“Though Coca-Cola may be only a minority partner in Kaiser, its influence in the crucial distribution side of the business helped Kaiser amass its 16.2 percent share of the Brazilian beer market,” the Journal reported.
The article also quoted officials with the largest brewery in Brazil as saying, “Our main competitor is the Coca-Cola Company … . Beer, coupled with Coke distribution, makes (Kaiser) very fierce.”

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  • Louis Moore