Ratings agency Moody's has doubts about Coca-Cola FEMSA's ability to integrate a bottling business in Asia, after it emerged a deal in the Philippines is on the cards.

This week, Coca-Cola FEMSA said that it is in talks to buy a controlling stake in The Coca-Cola Co's Philippines bottling business. It has 12 months of exclusivity to seal a deal.

The move would be the latest in a spate of acquisitions by Coca-Cola FEMSA, but it is the first potential acquisition outside of the Mexico-based bottler's Latin America heartland. That has worried ratings agency Moody's, which sounded a note of caution on the talks yesterday (22 February).

"Moody's believes that an acquisition in the Philippines could pose significant challenges for Coca-Cola FEMSA given the lack of geographic proximity and as a result of cultural and market dynamics differences of the Asian market," the agency said. In order to avoid a credit downgrade, Moody's said it would need reassurance that the bottler has a sound strategy for developing the Philippines business.

In August, Moody's upgraded Coca-Cola FEMSA from A3 to A2. The bottler is the largest in the global Coca-Cola system in terms of volume.