Negotiations are continuing between Philippines food and beverage group San Miguel Corp. (SMC) and the Coca-Cola Company over the sale SMC's majority stake in the local Coke bottler Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. (CCBPI).

A Coke spokesperson was quoted yesterday (25 September) as saying that no formal deal had yet been agreed but there had been no change in the company's view on taking control of the company.

"There has been no change in our position to take management control and a majority stake (in CCBPI)," said Jose Baylon, vice president for public affairs at The Coca-Cola Export Corp.

SMC owns 65% CCBPI with Coca-Cola controlling the remaining 35%. The company has reportedly suffered a slowdown in sales in recent years. First-half revenues at the company fell by 4% to PHP19bn (US$377.3m).

SMC announced that it was looking to offload its share in CCBPI in July, when its five-year bottling and royalty agreement with Coke expired. Talks were initiated with Coke which are thought to have covered a number of possibilities, including Coke taking control and SMC retaining a minority interest.