BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) will invest $1 billion over four years in its bottling and distribution operations in Argentina, the company said on Thursday, and leave the door open to further acquisitions in the South American country.
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent told Argentine President Mauricio Macri of the spending plan when the two met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where Macri has been courting chief executives with a message that Argentina is open for business.
Macri, who took office on Dec.10, has dismantled capital controls and unified the country's currency exchange rate, overseen the easing of some banking regulations and resumed negotiations with holdout creditors as part of a drive to restore investors' battered confidence.
Francisco Do Pico, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Argentina, said the investment would include a new bottling plant in the northern Corrientes province and two new distribution centers. Construction of the bottling factory had already started, he said.
"At this time we do not rule out acquiring a local company in the non-alcoholic drink sector," Do Pico added, without giving any further details on possible acquisitions in the pipeline.
Reporting by Juliana Castilla; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Larry King and Diane Craft