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Coca-Cola Femsa to Buy Brazil’s Spaipa in $1.86 Billion Deal

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Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Coca-Cola Femsa SAB, the largest bottler of the soft drink in Latin America, agreed to buy Brazil’s Spaipa SA Industria Brasileira de Bebidas in a cash deal with a total transaction value of $1.86 billion.

The deal, Coca-Cola Femsa’s second acquisition in Brazil in less than three months, will bolster its volume in South America’s largest nation by 40 percent, the Mexico City-based bottler said in a statement yesterday. When the purchase closes, subject to approval by Brazil’s antitrust authority, the Mexican bottler said it would account for 39 percent of the Coca-Cola system’s volume in Brazil.

The Spaipa deal is Coca-Cola Femsa’s largest since it announced the $3.6 billion acquisition of Miami-based Panamerican Beverages Inc., or Panamco, in 2002, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, and it follows a $4 billion shopping spree in Mexico, Brazil and the Philippines started in June 2011.

The Spaipa acquisition provides a “perfect geographic fit,” Coca-Cola Femsa said in the statement, linking the Mexican bottler’s distribution territories in the states of Sao Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul.

Spaipa, Brazil’s second-largest closely held Coca-Cola bottler, sold 236 million unit cases of beverages, including beer, last year, generating sales of $929 million and $152 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a profit measure known as Ebitda, Coca-Cola Femsa said.

Ebitda Gains

Regulatory changes and “a generally weak consumer environment” hurt Spaipa and Coca-Cola Femsa’s Brazil operations in recent quarters, according to the Mexican bottler.

Coca-Cola Femsa said it expected $33 million in Ebitda gains from the transaction in the next 18 to 24 months, from transportation, reductions in administrative expenses and other measures. Spaipa has operations in the states of Sao Paulo and Parana, with four bottling plants, seven distribution centers and more than 6,000 employees serving almost 17 million consumers, Coca-Cola Femsa said.

The deal has been ratified by Coca-Cola Femsa’s board of directors and the company said it would also seek approval from Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co.

Bottler Expansion

Coca-Cola Femsa will finance the Spaipa purchase with new bank debt for which the Mexican company has already obtained commitments, it said. After the deal, the Coca-Cola Femsa’s net debt will be 1.6 times Ebitda, it said. The bottler has a credit rating of A- from Standard & Poor’s, the seventh-highest investment grade level and four steps above junk.

The company announced its first foray into Asia this year as it bought a controlling stake in Coca-Cola’s Philippines bottling operation. It has acquired four Mexican bottlers since June 2011 and closed the $448 million acquisition of Brazil’s Cia. Fluminense de Refrigerantes last month.

Coca-Cola Femsa Chief Executive Officer Carlos Salazar and Chief Financial Officer Hector Trevino will hold a conference call to discuss the transaction on Sept. 3 at 12:00 p.m. in Mexico City.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brendan Case in Mexico City at bcase4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net

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