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Coca-Cola FEMSA swings to quarterly loss on higher costs, currency fluctuations

Coca-Cola FEMSA SAB de CV posted a steep net loss in the fourth quarter of 2017, due to a change in the accounting method for its operations in Venezuela, along with higher costs in Mexico and Central America.

The Mexico-based company, one of the world's largest Coca-Cola franchise bottlers, reported a fourth-quarter net loss of 24.25 billion Mexican pesos, or 11.54 pesos per share, compared to a profit of 3.51 billion pesos in the prior-year period.

On a comparable basis, the company earned 1.85 pesos per share in the quarter, up from 1.39 pesos per share a year earlier.

Total revenues grew 11.6% year over year to 55.28 billion pesos from 49.53 billion pesos. On an annual basis, gross profit increased 12.0% to 25.06 billion pesos from 22.39 billion pesos, and operating income rose 5.8% to 7.58 billion pesos from 7.17 billion pesos.

Year over year, Coca-Cola FEMSA's total number of transactions rose 39.6% to 6.96 billion in the quarter, and total sales volume grew 21.6% 1.03 billion unit cases.

In Mexico and Central America, the company's operating income fell due to increased freight expenses, higher fuel prices and labor costs, and currency depreciation. In South America, total revenues also went down, driven by volume decline in Colombia and Venezuela.

For the full year, Coca-Cola FEMSA reported a net loss of 12.80 billion pesos, or 6.12 pesos per share, compared to a profit of 10.07 billion pesos in 2016.

Total revenues rose to 203.78 billion pesos in 2017 from 177.72 billion pesos a year ago, while gross profit grew to 91.69 billion pesos from 79.66 billion pesos.

Coca-Cola FEMSA, which produces and distributes trademark beverages of The Coca-Cola Company, operates in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela and the Philippines.

As of Feb. 21, US$1 was equivalent to 18.66 Mexican pesos.