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Pepsi Bottler Said to Seek at Least $300 Million in Offering

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Organizacion Cultiba SAB, the bottler of PepsiCo. Inc. soft drinks in Mexico, is seeking to raise more than $300 million in an equity offering next year, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Cultiba, which changed its name from Grupo Embotelladora Unidas SAB, is planning the follow-on offering in part to boost trading volume in the existing stock by increasing the number of shares outstanding, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. Trading volume was 50,000 shares in the past month, compared with 19 million shares for Coca-Cola Femsa SAB, Mexico’s biggest bottler of the soft drink.

Cultiba is turning to the equity market after a rally in bottler stocks sent valuations to record levels this year. Arca Continental SAB, Mexico’s second-biggest Coca-Cola bottler, has surged 63 percent in 2012, with the price touching a record 4.5 times book value in October, while Coca-Cola Femsa shares have soared 44 percent.

Mexico has the world’s largest per capita consumption of Coca-Cola Co. products, and Arca Continental and Coca-Cola Femsa have been expanding through acquisitions to shore up dominance in the local soft-drink market.

Carlos Orozco, Cultiba’s chief financial officer, declined to comment on a possible share sale.

Arca Continental’s shares were little changed at the close of trading in Mexico City, paring earlier gains of as much as 0.7 percent. Coca-Cola Femsa’s stock rose 0.3 percent. Cultiba’s outstanding shares were unchanged today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan J. Levin in Mexico City at jlevin20@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Papadopoulos at papadopoulos@bloomberg.net

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