Credit Woes Move Bank to Offload $2B in Coke Shares

Cola's secret formula kept in SunTrust vault
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jul 23, 2008 10:42 AM CDT
A Costco customer picks up a case of Diet Coke at Costco in Mountain View, Calif.    (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – Continuing credit losses have prompted SunTrust Bank to offload its 43.6 million shares of Coca-Cola, breaking ties with the soft-drink maker that stretch more than 90 years and include a copy of the cola’s secret recipe stored in the bank’s Atlanta vault, the Guardian reports. SunTrust’s announcement that it would dispose of its $2 billion stake boosted Coke shares 3.5% yesterday.

SunTrust yesterday reported a 21% drop in profits and said the Coke sale—it will sell an additional 30 million shares over the next 7 years—was “exclusively related to SunTrust's own capital optimization goals.” As the Trust Co. of Georgia, SunTrust helped take Coca-Cola public in 1919. (Read more SunTrust Banks stories.)