July 19/Purchase, N.Y./Drinks Business Review -- PepsiCo, Grupo Embotelladoras Unidas (GEUPEC) and Empresas Polar have formed a joint venture to create a new national beverage company in Mexico.Empresas Polar, a bottler of Pepsi-Cola products in Venezuela, will have an equity stake in the JV.

The new JV will consolidate the PepsiCo-owned beverage manufacturing and distribution operations in Mexico with those of GEUSA, the other Pepsi bottler in the country and a subsidiary of GEUPEC.

The new beverage company will offer various carbonated and noncarbonated brands including Pepsi, Gatorade, 7Up, Lipton, Mirinda, Santorini, Squirt, Electropura, ePura and BeLight across the country.

The global beverage giant expects the scope of the JV's distribution network to reach 950,000 points-of-sale and to 1.7 million households with its direct-to-home delivery system. The new company, which will employ 36,000 people, will operate 287 distribution centers and about 17,500 sales and delivery vehicles.

GEUPEC chairman Juan Gallardo said the partnership between the three companies will represent great growth opportunities and allows the company to provide service to both customers and consumers.

PepsiCo Beverages Americas CEO Massimo d'Amore said the company has invested for many years in Mexico and intends to continue investing to build both its beverage and food businesses.

"PepsiCo products have been offered in Mexico for more than 100 years, and today's announcement is further proof of our commitment to Mexico," d'Amore said.

GEUPEC will initially maintain a majority interest in the joint venture. The governing board of the company will include representatives of the three equity partners.

Pepsi-Cola Venezuela CEO Miguel Antor has been designated CEO of the new company.

From the July 19, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.