The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:CCE) has announced that it is investing $2 billion to support the planting of 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Florida. The commitment, which is the state’s largest citrus planting in 25 years, will add more than 4,100 direct and indirect jobs to the state economy, according to a study conducted by the Florida Department of Citrus.
“Citrus is synonymous with Florida, but the industry has faced many challenges in recent years, particularly the growing threat of citrus greening,” Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said in a statement. “With Coca-Cola’s generous investment toward 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Central Florida, the citrus industry and our state’s entire economy will benefit.”
Approximately 5 million new trees will be planted in the new groves located in Polk, DeSoto and Hendry counties in central Florida.
Coca-Cola owns the Minute Maid and Simply juice brands, which, in partnership with Cutrale Citrus Juices, accounts for the consumption of nearly a third of all Florida oranges grown by more than 400 local growers.
The company reported its first-quarter results in mid-April, topping Wall Street's expectations as sales volume rose in emerging markets. Shares of Coca-Cola Co. rose nearly 6 percent to $42.37, touching the highest point since the late 1990s.