Coca-Cola Co. and six of its Mexican bottlers have been stung by a US$51m fine from the country's antitrust commission. The fine follows a complaint from PepsiCo over alleged anti-competitive sales practices.

PepsiCo originally complained in 2000, resulting in the antitrust commission ordering Coke to cease from certain sales practices, including exclusive contracts, in 2002. Having won an appeal of this decision, Coke saw the situation be reviewed again, resulting in this latest ruling.

Coke plans to appeal the decision by the country's Federal Competition Commission. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesman for the company said that the company would "demonstrate that our commercial practices are fair, foster efficiency in the marketplace and promote a free competitive environment." The spokesman also told the paper that the Coke bottlers involved "will evaluate and decide which course of action they will take."

Last month, Coke and five of its Mexican bottlers were hit by another fine, this time of US$21m, by the antitrust commission. The fine followed a complaint by local drinks maker Big Cola, over claims that its business was hampered by Coke demands for exclusivity.

The Coke spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that it will also appeal this ruling.