Coca-Cola Femsa, the Mexico-based soft drinks bottler, has reported an 18% drop in net profits for the first quarter of 2009.

Profits fell to MXN1.3bn (US$94.7m) for the three months to the end of March, mainly damaged by the devaluation of the Mexican peso currency against the US dollar, Coca-Cola Femsa said today (29 April).

Net sales for the period grew by 30.5% to MXN22.5bn, thanks to the acquisition last June of Brazil's Refrigerantes Minas Gerais (Remil), which made up more than 25% of the growth, the firm said. Operating income grew by 17% to MXN3.3bn for the quarter.

CEO Carlos Salazar Lomelin said: "Among other factors, we benefited from the consolidation of our Remil franchise territory in Brazil, the continued successful rollout of the Jugos del Valle line of juice-based beverages in Mexico, Colombia and Central America, and organic growth."

He added: "We have the flexibility to adapt our business through initiatives that sustain our cash flow and meet our strategic objectives."

In February, Coca-Cola Femsa, which is controlled by Femsa, reported a 19% drop in net profit for 2008.