Latin American drinks group FEMSA has today (26 February) posted rising earnings and sales for 2006 as it enjoyed growth across its beer, soft drinks and retail operations.

FEMSA, based in Mexico, saw operating income rise 6% year-on-year to MXN17.4bn (US$1.6bn) on the back of a 13% jump in revenues to MXN126.4bn. The company's three business areas - beer, soft drinks and retail - "contributed positively to this double-digit pace", FEMSA said.

Chairman and CEO José Antonio Fernández called 2006 "a year of important accomplishments both operationally and strategically". He pointed to faster beer sales in Mexico and the double-digit growth of FEMSA's beer exports.

Moreover, Fernández insisted FEMSA's acquisition of Brazilian brewer Kaiser and its joint purchase of a controlling stake in Jugos del Valle, one of Latin America's largest fruit juice producers would "enhance our business".

FEMSA Cerveza, the company's beer business, posted a 7% rise in earnings and 9% rise in sales as exports leapt 15%. The company praised its "close collaboration" with Heineken in the US, where the Dutch brewing giant sells FEMSA brands, including Tecate and Sol.

In Brazil, where FEMSA is attempting to revitalise what was an ailing Kaiser beer business, the company said sales reached MXN4.3bn as volumes reached 8.9m hectolitres. FEMSA, which bought the Kaiser business last January, did not give comparative figures.

Coca-Cola FEMSA, in which the Mexican group owns a 53.7% stake, posted a 2.6% rise in operating profit to MXN9.4bn in 2006. The largest Coca-Cola bottler in Latin America posted a 2.6% rise in operating profit to MXN9.4bn last year.

From its retail operations, FEMSA saw sales jump almost 19% to MXN35.5bn. The soaring revenues drove a 22.4% leap in profits to MXN1.6bn.