Coca-Cola Femsa (KOF) plans to continue its efforts to cut its debt this year. The Coke bottler said yesterday (28 February) that it is unlikely to match the pace of debt reduction it achieved in 2004.

Last year, the Mexican company reduced its debt by US$390m to end the year at US$1.915bn as it concentrated on paying down acquisition costs. KOF bought Miami-based Panamco in May 2003 for US$2.7bn plus US$880m in debt. The bottler spent the rest of 2003 and 2004 looking to integrate Panamco's business and offloading debt.

In a conference call with analysts, KOF's CFO, Hector Trevino, said: "My feeling is that somewhere around US$200m to US$250m will be a good (debt reduction) number for 2005."

Trevino added that capital expenditure plans for 2005 were in line with previous years. "Basically, our operations are calling for a little bit higher than US$200m for the year," he said.