Pepsi, Mexican bottler combine operations in Mexico

Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:19pm EDT

* PepsiCo, Geupec, Empresas Polar to split Geusa ownership

* Geusa will offer portfolio of brands

MEXICO CITY, July 18 (Reuters) - Mexican bottling company Grupo Embotelladoras Unidas GEUPECB.MX said on Monday it entered an agreement with PepsiCo (PEP.N) and a Venezuelan food and drinks company to combine their bottling and distribution companies in Mexico.

Pepsi's Mexican distribution and bottling will become part of Geusa, a subsidiary of the Mexican bottler, known locally as Geupec, according to a statement.

The newly expanded Geusa will offer a collection of carbonated and non-carbonated drinks, including brands such as Gatorade, Lipton, and Pepsi.

Geupec will have a 51 percent stake in the operation.

Venezuelan food and drinks company Empresas Polar, which is also a Pepsi bottler, will have a 29 percent stake, while PepsiCo will have a 20 percent stake, Geupec said.

The deal, subject to approval by Mexico's competition commission, should be completed by the end of September, Geupec said. (Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)