ÚSA – Coca-Cola Femsa, the largest Coke franchise bottler in the world by sales volume, has acquired Uruguay’s Montevideo Refrescos (Monresa) from The Coca-Cola Company for US$250.7 million.

According to FoodBev, the deal sees Femsa increase its presence into a total of 11 countries, adding to its operations in the Philippines, Central America, South America and Mexico.

Monresa was founded in 1943 and is the exclusive distributor and manufacturer of the Coca-Cola beverage portfolio in Uruguay, serving a market of 3.4 million consumers.

“As part of our strategic framework and the consolidation of leadership in the global beverage market, the integration of Monresa reaffirms our commitment to generating economic and social value for our shareholders and stakeholders,” said Coca-Cola Femsa CEO John Santa Maria.

The move follows on from Femsa’s US$1.03 billion acquisition of Vonpar through its Brazilian subsidiary, Spal Industria Brasileira de Bebidas, to further its presence in South America.

FoodBev also reported that the company plans to invest US$800 million in the expansion of its Filipino operation to increase production capacity by around 20% and enhance its position within the Philippines’ soft drinks market.

Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines chief executive Fabricio Ponce told reporters that the bottler would add two further polyethylene terephthalate (PET) lines, and two tetra pack lines, with a total spend of US$170m in 2016 alone.

The additional lines will increase the company’s production capacity by around 20% and enhance its dominant position within the Philippines’ soft drinks market.

It will also allow Coca-Cola Femsa to widen consumers’ on-the-go options, after lowering the price of its 8oz Sakto format to PHP 7 (US$0.14) and announcing plans to introduce a 400ml size of Coca-Cola.

Earlier this year Coca-Cola Femsa closed its bottling operations in Ciudad Altamirano, Mexico, due to constant security and safety threats to its employees.

“The current lack of the necessary conditions to efficiently and safely operate within this part of the State of Guerrero, as exemplified by the recent unjustified assault on one of its employees, led the company to make this decision,” said the company in a statement.