Mexico-based Coca-Cola FEMSA has said it is working on "rapid expansion", after reporting strong sales and profits for 2009.

Speaking at the group's earnings conference call today (12 February), group CEO Carlos Salazar Lomelin said that it always has its “eyes open” for opportunities to expand.

“If you look at our track record in the Buenos Aries and Mexico regions, it has taken us some time to digest and integrate previous transactions”.

“But we are working together with The Coca-Cola Co for rapid expansion. We continue to look alternatives and always have our eyes open. We will see opportunities outside of America. We have the door open…but right now we don’t have anything we are looking at,” Lomelin told analysts.

Coca-Cola FEMSA on Friday reported net sales for the 12 months to the end of December up by 24% to MXN102.7bn (US$7.9bn), compared to MXN82.9bn in 2008.

Net profits leapt by 52% to MXN8.5bn, boosted by a near four-fold increase in the fourth quarter, said the group, which is 54% owned by Fomento Economico Mexicano (FEMSA) and 31.6% owned by The Coca-Cola Co.

The growth also drove a strong year for parent firm FEMSA, which also recently announced its desire to expand its soft drinks arm, after selling its beer division, FEMSA Cerveza, to Heineken.

Lomelin said that one of the elements that will play in its favour will be foreign exchange.

“Given more stability on currencies, some of the cost pressure will not necessarily be there this year. We will try and maintain and improve our margins in 2010,” he added.