MEXICO CITY Feb 28 Mexican retailer and
bottling company Femsa expects to further expand its Oxxo
convenience store chain this year and may venture further into
new businesses such as drugstores and fast food, an executive
told analysts on a call on Thursday.
The company, which co-owns Coke bottler Coca-Cola Femsa
with The Coca-Cola Co, will spend about
$400 million on expanding and improving its retail unit this
year, Chief Financial Officer Javier Astaburuaga said.
Femsa did not say how many Oxxo stores it hopes to open in
2013, but the level of spending is in line with investment in
2012. The company ended 2012 with 10,601 stores, up 10.9 percent
from 9,561 stores at the end of 2011.
Oxxo has been selling more prepared foods, and the company
could consider further expanding into this sector, perhaps with
acquisitions, Astaburuaga said.
Femsa, which in November agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in
drug store chain YZA, is considering similar deals this year,
perhaps even adding to its fast-food sales, Astaburuaga said.
Any deal would be small and it would have to be a "good fit"
with Oxxo, he said, without giving details on any possible
transactions the company might be considering.
Separately, the company is also looking at expanding Oxxo
outside of Mexico.
"We are looking at some opportunities in some other places
in South America," said Astaburuaga. "We are very open to
acquiring or even partnering with somebody down there, but we
are still in the phase where we are looking at things rather
than being close to doing something."
Femsa may also use some of its cash to buy more shares in
Coca-Cola Femsa, Astaburuaga said. "That's definitely a
possibility for Femsa's uses of cash going forward."
Femsa on Wednesday reported its fourth-quarter profit
climbed almost 80 percent to 9.661 billion pesos ($751 million)
from 5.446 billion pesos a year earlier.