The Coca-Cola Co.'s Mexican unit has been hit by a fine for monopoly practices in the country.

The soft drinks giant was earlier this week stung by a MXN10.5m (US$970,000) fine after the Federal Competition Commission found that Coca-Cola Export had demanded retailers sign exclusive contracts with the company. The commission also noted that Coca-Cola Export, as the company is known in Mexico, had offered discounts to distribution and retail companies in return for exclusivity. The charges date back to August 2000 following a complaint from PepsiCo.

Coca-Cola Export is appealing the fine.

Yesterday (30 May), the company said that it has created a fiduciary trust in an amount equal to the fine. The interest generated by these funds will be directed towards "strengthening training programs to modernise the traditional retail channel in Mexico", the company said.

Coca-Cola Export also said that of the 91 companies initially charged in the case - the majority of which are independent Coke bottlers in Mexico - there are only 15 appeals pending resolution by the circuit courts, and five in the Supreme Court.

"None of the courts involved in the bottler cases have ruled against them, and the vast majority have had the original CFC charges dismissed as the charges were declared illegal by said courts," the company concluded.