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Coca-Cola said this week it would fail to meet its long-term earnings growth goals in 2014.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Coca-Cola Co. will cut as many as 1,800 jobs, or about 1 per cent of its global workforce, as the world's largest beverage company reduces costs amid a sales slump.

The first employees to be fired were notified Thursday and more jobs will be eliminated in the coming months, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The cuts will stretch across Coke's corporate headquarters and North American operations, both based in Atlanta, as well as its international units.

"We are redesigning our operating model to streamline and simplify our structure and accelerate the growth of our global business," Coca-Cola said. "We will continuously look for ways to streamline our business and drive growth as our business and our operating model evolve."

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Chief Executive Officer Muhtar Kent said on Oct. 21 that he would carve out $3-billion in annual costs, which would include job cuts, as the company struggles with sluggish international growth and mounting concerns over obesity and artificial sweeteners.

The company said it has identified 1,600 to 1,800 positions to eliminate. Jobs in Coca-Cola's U.S. and global beverage bottling operations will be spared. Coca-Cola employed 130,600 people globally as of Dec. 31 2013, which included about 13,000 in the affected corporate operations.

Coca-Cola rose 0.4 per cent to $43.18 at 11 a.m. in New York. The stock advanced 2.2 per cent last year, trailing a 14-per-cent gain for rival PepsiCo Inc.

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