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MEXICO: FEMSA takes majority stake in Coke bottler

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Mexican drinks group FEMSA has taken a majority stake in Latin American Coke bottler Coca-Cola FEMSA.

The company paid US$427.4m for a further 8% stake in the bottler, which takes its holding to 53.7%.

Last week, Coca-Cola FEMSA plants in Venezuela were blockaded for four days in a dispute over distribution agreements. The bottler has also struggled this year due to the weak Mexican peso but FEMSA said it had confidence in the company's potential throughout Latin America.

"This transaction reflects FEMSA's conviction in the compelling growth and return prospects of the leading bottler in Latin America," the company said.

On Friday (27 September), FEMSA also outlined its results for the third quarter ending 30 September. The company said net income was up 11.3% to MXN1.9bn (US$176.5m) on the back of a 13.9% rise in revenues to MXN32.1bn.

Turnover from FEMSA's beer business, which produces brands including Sol and Dos Equis, was up 8%, thanks to rising sales at home and abroad.

"Results across our business units again showed robust growth trends, and we keep developing new ways to satisfy the demand of our growing consumer base," FEMSA chairman Jose Antonio Fernandez said.

During the quarter, FEMSA paid US$200m to tax authorities in Brazil to settle a "significant portion" of the debts of local brewer Kaiser.

FEMSA bought a majority stake in the troubled Brazilian brewer in January and said it had made "progress in stabilising the Kaiser operation" during the third quarter. FEMSA is repositioning Kaiser as a regional brand and earlier this month launched a version of Sol tailored to Brazilian tastes.


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