Mexican bottler Arca posts 18.4 pct rise in fourth-quarter profit

MEXICO CITY Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:56am EST

MEXICO CITY Feb 19 (Reuters) - Mexican bottling company Arca Continental on Wednesday said profit rose 18.4 percent in the fourth quarter, helped by higher sales and production efficiencies.

Arca, one of the world's biggest bottlers of Coca-Cola Co products, reported a profit of 1.28 billion pesos ($97.7 million) for the period, compared with a profit of 1.08 billion pesos in the year-earlier period, the company said in a filing with the Mexican stock exchange.

Revenue rose nearly 6 percent to 15.31 billion pesos from 14.50 billion pesos a year earlier.

In October, Mexico approved a 1 peso-per-liter tax on sugary drinks and an 8 percent tax on junk food as part of a wider tax overhaul.

The levy took effect at the beginning of this year, and will likely be reflected in Arca's next quarterly report.

Mexicans are the world's biggest consumers of soda, guzzling an average of 707 8-ounce (0.24 liter) servings per person each year, according to U.S. newsletter Beverage Digest. The United States is the only other country within reach, clocking in at 701 servings per person.

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