Coca-Cola FEMSA has entered negotiations to purchase a controlling stake in The Coca-Cola Co's Philippines unit.

The Mexican bottler has signed an exclusivity agreement to evaluate the potential acquisition, it said in a statement yesterday (21 February). Coca-Cola FEMSA is the largest public bottler of Coca-Cola globally and this would be its first acquisition outside Latin America.

The two companies have entered a 12-month agreement for the purchase of a controlling stake in the operations, the firms said.

“Both parties believe that Coca-Cola's expertise and successful track record operating in fragmented markets and emerging economies can be effectively deployed in this territory and contribute significantly towards expanding the penetration of, and consumer preference for, The Coca-Cola Co’s brands in this market,” Coca-Cola FEMSA said.

“This agreement does not require either party to enter into a transaction, and there can be no assurances that a definitive agreement will be executed,” it added.

Coca-Cola has owned all of its Philippines bottling unit since buying the majority 65% stake owned by San Miguel Corp. in 2007 for US$590m.

In December, Coca-Cola FEMSA made its third acquisition within six months after signing a deal to buy the drinks unit of fellow Mexican group Grupo Fomento Queretano.