NEW YORK (AP) -- The Coca-Cola Co.'s biggest franchise bottler, Coca-Cola FEMSA, said Friday that it has agreed to buy a 51 percent stake in Coca-Cola Bottlers Philippines Inc. for $688.5 million in cash.
Coca-Cola FEMSA is based in Mexico and distributes Coca-Cola products throughout Latin America. The deal allows the bottler to expand beyond that region while capturing one of the company's biggest markets.
"The Philippines has one of the highest per capita consumption rates of Coca-Cola products in the region and presents significant opportunities for further growth," the company said in a statement.
The Coca-Cola Co., based in Atlanta, currently owns the Philippines bottling operations.
As part of the agreement, Coca-Cola FEMSA will have an option to acquire the remaining 49 percent of the Philippines bottler for seven years after the closing of the initial deal. It also has an option to sell the stake back to Coca-Cola in year six. The deal is expected to close early next year.
The Philippines bottler has 23 production plants and is expected to sell about 530 million unit cases of beverages this year.