And now for the biggest and baddest of Coke bottlers: Coca-Cola FEMSA (NYSE:KOF). This one boasts the biggest market cap of $24.13 billion, the biggest year-to-date gains with a 28% climb and it reigns in a very appealing region.
KOF has 34 bottling facilities in Latin America, serving 1.6 million retailers in Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. And while the U.S. and Europe both face great uncertainty, Latin America has a relatively strong economy that’s expected to keep growing.
Plus, FEMSA has even more room to run, and has been taking advantage of it. The company made three acquisitions in Mexico in the last year alone and is also considering its first venture outside of Latin America with a purchase in the Phillipines.
Again, there’s fine print, as earnings were hit last quarter by weaker Mexican peso, rising labor costs and more expensive high-fructose corn syrup. But FEMSA still managed to grow its top line for the 13th consecutive year and says things are set to get back on track.
Plus, analysts still expect to see 15% growth per year, compared to around 10% for the S&P 500 — and that growth could be even stronger if FEMSA goes through with its possible expansion.
And for the last option, we’re back across the pond to the largest bottler in Europe: Coca-Cola HBC (NYSE:CCH). This company is the result of a merger between Athens-based Hellenic Bottling Co. and the London-based Coca-Cola Beverages. And, well, it may not be your best bet.
To start, the company is based in Greece — a bit of a red-flag from the get-go — and it produces, sells and distributes primarily Coca-Cola products in 27 countries in Europe and Nigeria. So far, it’s had the least impressive year-to-date share gains, at just over 11%, and is actually in the red for the past 12 months. But again, those 2012 numbers still beat KO’s performance.
It troubles should hardly come as a surprise, considering CCH relies almost completely an economy that’s been in crisis for some time now. The company has suffered from falling revenue and actually lost money is three quarters since 2011.
If you’re convinced that Europe is going to get back on track, though, CCH is a pretty direct bet on the region — and one that has a big-name consumer brand in its back pocket.
Consumer Staples ETFs
If you’re wary of bottlers because of low trading volume, or are hesitant to go all-out in one region, there are still other ways to cash in — albeit indirectly — on Coca-Cola. A few consumer-based ETFs, for example, have KO a as a top holding and let you bet on the soft drink, but hedge against some of the issues the company and its bottlers are facing.
The Select Sector Consumer Staples SPDR (NYSE:XLP), to start, has KO as its largest holding at 12.51% and has seen gains of almost 11% year-to-date. And the Vanguard Vanguard Consumer Staples ETF (NYSE:VDC) has the soda-maker as its second-largest holding at 9.7%, along with gains of more than 12% since January.
In the end, betting on the success of the beverage king comes with many more options than simply snatching up some shares of KO — all of which have shown solid success so far this year and don’t look to be going flat any time soon.