PepsiCo's main bottling arm, The Pepsi Bottling Group, has signed a deal to acquire fellow Pepsi bottler Lane Affiliated Companies.

The agreement is Pepsi Bottling Group's (PBG) biggest deal since becoming a publicly traded company in 1999, the firm said in its announcement today (25 September). Financial details were not disclosed.

The move represents consolidation in the bottling sector as customers continue to grow larger and input costs put pressure on margins.

Lane, with headquarters in Colorado Springs, is the eight largest Pepsi bottler and employs around 600 people.

Eric Foss, PBG president and CEO, said: "Once completed, the deal will strengthen our operations by expanding our footprint across contiguous territories and enhancing our ability to meet the needs of our customers."

Analyst group Standard & Poor's said last month that soft drinks bottlers in the US would continue to face tough cost pressures in the short-term.

PBG reconfirmed profit guidance earlier this month. It predicted earnings per share of US$2.30-$2.38 for the full-year, with sales growth in the mid-single digits.