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US parent plans buy-back of Coke operations in Philippines

Aug 19. 2018
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THE COCA-COLA CO said that its Bottling Investments Group (BIG) plans to take over bottling operations in the Philippines, but did not explain the factors that played behind the decision. In a statement last week, the company said the acquisition would still be subject to “regulatory approvals.”

Half a decade ago, Coca-Cola Femsa, the biggest franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world, bought a 51-per cent stake in Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc from The Coca-Cola Co in Atlanta.

During that time, it marked Mexico-based Coca-Cola Femsa’s first acquisition beyond Latin America which it then called “a vote of confidence in the strength of the Philippine economy and the opportunities it provides.”

Now, that stake has been returned to The Coca-Cola Co at an undisclosed amount, after the board of Coca-Cola Femsa voted to exercise an option to sell back its 51-per cent stake.

No explanation was given. However, according to the company’s official website, it said Coca-Cola usually relied on independent bottling franchises, except in certain “circumstances” wherein BIG had to enter the picture.

“For a variety of reasons, circumstances arise where bottling franchises find they need help that is beyond their capability,” it read.

“[BIG] was created to ensure those bottling operations remain a part of our system and receive the appropriate investments and expertise to ensure their long-term success,” it added.

John Murphy, president of the Asia Pacific Group for The Coca-Cola Co, said that they appreciated Coca-Cola Femsa’s decision and the progress made during their five-year tenure in the Philippines.

He said the company was confident in the potential of the market, noting that it was “better positioned than ever before for future success.”

“The Coca-Cola Co will work to ensure a smooth transition of the Philippines bottling operations to BIG, for all customers, business partners, consumers and, importantly, for all those who work in the bottling operations,” he said.


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