The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has announced that it plans to invest $2 billion in Florida orange groves. The soft drink manufacturer announced the move earlier this morning at a press conference at its production plant in Auburndale, Florida. At time of writing, the market seemed unperturbed by the news, and stock in The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) increased by a fraction.
According to the plan, The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) will use the money to facilitate the planting of 25,000 acres of new orange trees in the Sunshine State. The oranges will most likely be used in the manufacture of juice brands owned by The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), including the Minute Maid and Simply brands.
The investment represents the planting of 5 million new orange trees in Florida, and should also be a boon to jobs in the state. According to officials from The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO), 4,100 new jobs will be added to the states economy because of the influx. The plantation is the largest single addition to the state’s citrus plantations in the last fifteen years.
That last tidbit of information is important to many Floridians, who have seen citrus production in a state famous for its oranges decline in recent years. According to an Associated Press report, the total acreage dedicated to citrus in Florida has fallen by 25 percent since 1997, declining from 600,000 acres in that year to 450,000 in 2012.
The program, in practice, means that two large Florida growers will get a contract to plant 12,500 acres of orange groves each. Florida has lost a huge amount of citrus production in the last fifteen years as developing world economies promised lower costs for companies searching for high volumes.
Since the start of 2013, stock in The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) has performed quite well. Shareholders’ investment has increased in value by 17 percent since the start of the new year. Investors seem more excited about the performance of the company in emerging markets than they do about changes in domestic and developed international markets.
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) said in this morning’s press conference that a third of all oranges grown in the Sunshine State went to the company. In the next 25 years a rough draft of the company’s investment plan shows that it will invest $2 billion in Florida in the coming 25 years.