Coca-Cola still confident in PH
CEO, other key officers visit AquinoBy Daxim L. Lucas |Philippine Daily Inquirer
The world’s largest franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products has reiterated its confidence in the country’s economic prospects a month after it acquired a majority stake in the Philippine operations of The Coca-Cola Co.
The commitment of Coca-Cola Femsa to the country came during the visit of its CEO Carlos Salazar Lomelin to President Aquino at the Malacañang Palace on Monday.
The visit comes in the wake of Coca-Cola Femsa’s acquisition of a 51-percent stake in Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. for $688.5 million in December 2012—the Latin American bottling giant’s first foray into the Philippine market.
“We are very honored to meet President Aquino and we look forward to a successful relationship with the Philippine government, as we explore additional growth and investment opportunities in our home in Asia,” Salazar said in a statement after his courtesy call.
“We’re happy to have this unique opportunity to operate in a country with healthy growth prospects, dynamic internal consumption and an attractive socio-economic and demographic profile,” he added.
The Coca-Cola Femsa chief was accompanied on his visit by Juan Ramon Felix, Coca-Cola Femsa director for Asia and Juan C. Dominguez, Coca-Cola Femsa director of human resource and corporate affairs for Asia.
During his meeting with the President, Salazar outlined Coca-Cola Femsa’s plans for the Philippines, and the vision of the company for its future undertaking with the government.
“The visit was also an opportunity for Coca-Cola Femsa to exemplify its firm belief and confidence in the Philippine government and economy and to demonstrate its commitment to continuously strengthen and enhance the legacy of its brands in the Philippines,” the company statement said.
Coca-Cola has been present in the Philippines since the beginning of the 20th century and has been locally produced since 1912. The Philippines is the recipient of the first Coca-Cola bottling and distribution franchise in Asia.
In December, Coca-Cola Femsa bought a majority stake of the local Coca-Cola operations from The Coca-Cola Co. of Atlanta.
The deal gave the Philippine bottler an enterprise valuation of $1.35 billion for a 100 percent stake. Under the deal, Coca-Cola Femsa has the option to buy the remaining 49 percent of CCBPI within a seven-year period following the closing. The buyer has the “put option” to sell its ownership to The Coca-Cola Co. of Atlanta at any time during the sixth year.
CCBPI has 23 production plants and serves close to 800,000 customers. It is expected to sell about 530 million unit cases of beverages in 2012, Femsa said.