Speculation over the prospect of a US$200m rights issue by the Mexican soft drink company Coca-Cola Femsa saw the company's shares leap yesterday, despite denials by Femsa that the issue would be anytime soon.

Last year Femsa acquired Panamco for US$2.7 billion plus assumed debt. At the time it said it would carry out a rights offer to allow then-shareholders to maintain their current percentage ownership.

However, a company source was reported by the news agency Reuters yesterday saying that there was no plan to go ahead with the rights offer over the short term. However the source was reported confirming it would take place, possibly in the first half of 2004.