Talks between San Miguel Corp. and Coca-Cola Co. over their soft drinks bottling joint venture in the Philippines are entering the home straight, according to reports.

San Miguel confirmed in July that the two companies were in discussion over Coke taking at least a majority stake in, and management and operational control of, Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines (CCBPI). The Philippine food and drinks giant presently owns 65% while Coke holds the remaining 35% of CCBPI. The two companies bought CCBPI from Coca-Cola Amatil in July 2001.

Responding to a query on the status of the negotiations by Dow Jones today (24 August), San Miguel president Ramon Ang said: "Not yet, (we need) 30 days more."

Last year, the bottler saw volumes slide by 8% to 520m cases, resulting in a 63% plunge in operating profit for the period to PHP1.2bn (US$23.2m). Reports in May suggested that Coke planned not to renew CCBPI's license to bottle its products from the end of last month.