Bloomberg News

Femsa Coke Unit Urges Venezuela Authorities to End Protest

February 12, 2008

Coca-Cola Femsa SAB, the soft-drink unit of Fomento Economico Mexicano SAB (GMODELOC), urged Venezuelan authorities to end a blockade of its factory and distribution facilities by former contract workers demanding $520 million.

Venezuelan courts resolved the case in favor of the company, which dates back to 2003 before Femsa acquired the operations, Femsa said in a statement. Femsa acquired the Venezuelan operation when it bought Panamco in May 2003.

The protests, led by two members of Venezuela's National Assembly, don't have ``legal grounds,'' the company said.

Femsa said it has no conflict with the Venezuelan government. The company said it has held talks since December with the group of workers mediated by the Venezuelan Supreme Court and is open to continuing negotiations once its facilities are allowed to operate.

Former truck drivers blocked a bottling plant and 12 distribution facilities, shutting 45 percent of the company's production in Venezuela, El Universal reported today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Black in Monterrey, Mexico, at tblack@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Nol at mnol@bloomberg.net


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