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Coca-Cola Femsa Profit Rises 15% on Brazil Demand

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July 23 (Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Femsa SAB, Latin America’s largest bottler, said second-quarter profit rose 15 percent on higher demand in Brazil and Mexico, helping offset a decline in Venezuela because of currency devaluation.

Net income was 2.48 billion pesos ($195 million), up from 2.16 billion pesos a year ago. Sales rose 4.1 percent to 25.2 billion pesos, Mexico City-based Coca-Cola Femsa said in a statement on its website.

A surge in soft-drink demand in Brazil, where the economy jumped 9 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, helped boost sales and make up for a devaluation in Venezuela. Sales in Brazil and Argentina, which the company reports together, increased 24 percent to 7.16 billion pesos.

In Mexico, the company’s largest market, sales gained 9.3 percent to 10.65 billion pesos. Sales in Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, which are reported together, fell 15 percent to 7.37 billion pesos. On a currency neutral basis sales would have increased 23 percent for the region, the company said.

Coca-Cola Femsa’s operating expenses slid 2.4 percent to 7.57 billion pesos on lower costs in Venezuela because of the devaluation. That helped boost operating income 11 percent to 4.09 billion pesos, the company said. The Venezuela currency weakened to 4.3 bolivars per dollar during the quarter from 2.15 bolivars a year earlier, the company said.

Coca-Cola Femsa fell 31 centavos to 85.48 pesos in Mexico City trading at 9:50 a.m. New York time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Black in Monterrey at tblack@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jennifer Sondag at jsondag@bloomberg.net.

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