Atlanta (July 16, 2002) -- In a major shift, top soft drink maker Coca-Cola said it will treat stock option grants as expenses beginning in the fourth quarter of 2002.

In a statement announcing the move, Coke's chairman and chief executive Doug Daft, said the move "ensures that our earnings will more clearly reflect economic reality when all compensation costs are recorded in the financial statements."

The move by the Atlanta-based soft drink giant comes at a time when corporate executives and auditors are under fire for questions over their roles in growing accounting scandals and regulators and Congress are calling for greater transparency to protect investors and restore confidence in financial reporting.

If the company's board grants options in 2002 at a similar level to 2001, Coca-Cola said it expects an impact of about $0.01 per share for 2002.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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