March 31/Mexico City/just-drinks global news -- Coca-Cola FEMSA, together with stakeholder The Coca-Cola Co, has acquired Panama-based dairy and juice company Grupo Industrias Lacteas.

The transaction, Coca-Cola FEMSA said, will enable it to enter the milk and value-added dairy products category -- identified as an important step in its growth strategy. It will also reinforce the company's non-carbonated drinks portfolio in the juice-based beverage segment.

No financial details of the purchase were disclosed.

"This transaction will significantly strengthen our position in the Panamanian beverage market through the incorporation of a portfolio of high quality products, including such widely-recognised brands as Estrella Azul and Del Prado," said Coca-Cola FEMSA's CEO, Carlos Salazar Lomelín.

Coca-Cola FEMSA added that the category of products made by Grupo Industrias Lacteas is "one of the most dynamic segments" in the non-alcoholic beverage industry in Latin America. Its brands, which include Estrella Azul and Del Prado, have had a presence in Panama for around 50 years.

Coca-Cola FEMSA will begin the integration of Grupo Industrias Lacteas in April.

In 2010, Grupo Industrias Lacteas reported sales of $140.9 million and employed around 1,800 people.  

From the April 1, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News