Coke investing $1 billion in Mexico

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MEXICO CITY (Jan. 30, 3:40 p.m. ET) — Coca-Cola Co. will invest in excess of $1 billion in Mexico in 2012, CEO Muhtar Kent said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 28.

“It is part of our long-term commitment to Mexico which totals more than $5 billion over five years,” Kent said in a speech made in the presence of Mexico’s President Felipe Calderón.

Coke committed the $5 billion to Mexico in 2009, a company spokesman in Atlanta told Plastics News by telephone Jan. 30. Asked what percentage will be invested in plastic manufacturing, if at all, he said the figure includes manufacturing, marketing and distribution.

According to a Coke spokeswoman in Mexico City, Coke and its partners operate 10 bottling plants in Mexico, including one Jugos del Valle facility. Jugos del Valle is a Mexican juice brand that Coke bought in 2009.

The spokeswoman said 50 percent of the PET used in bottles distributed by Coke in Mexico is recycled material. The Atlanta-headquartered drinks company has a stake in two bottle-to-bottle PET recycling plants in Mexico, Petstar SA de CV and Industria Mexicana de Reciclaje (IMER), she added.

Both are in Toluca, 40 miles west of Mexico City, and together can recycle up to 121.2 million pounds of PET per year, the Coke spokeswoman said. According to its Web site, Petstar is the largest PET recycling plant in Latin America.

In a speech at the same event, Calderón said Mexico has received more than $106 billion in direct foreign investment in the past five years.

Coke’s major partner in Mexico is Fomento Económico Mexicano SAB de CV (FEMSA), of Monterrey, which claims to be the largest bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world.