Coke to invest $5 billion in Mexico

Coca-Cola Co. and its bottlers will invest $5 billion over the next five years in Mexico, its second-largest market behind the United States, the Atlanta-based beverage giant said Thursday.

Coca-Cola Chairman and CEO Muhtar Kent made the announcement at the opening of a new plant in Mexico for the company’s Jugos del Valle juice brand.

The plant, which will make juices, nectars and other non-carbonated drinks, includes 20 bottling lines and the capacity to produce 140 million cases of beverage per year. Jugos del Valle increased its distribution 15-fold after Coca-Cola purchased the company in 2007.

The $5 billion earmarked for Mexico will be used by Coca-Cola and its bottlers to “develop infrastructure, technology, equipment, social programs, environmental initiatives, marketing activities, and grow our training and product portfolios with special emphasis on job protection and family economies,” Kent said in a press statement.

Mexico is a key market for Coca-Cola. Last year, per capita consumption of the company’s beverages in Mexico was 635 8-ounce servings. That compares to 412 8-ounce servings in the United States.