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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 12:50 pm

PepsiCo bottler halts operations in Mexican town

Andrea Navarro | Bloomberg

An exclusive bottler of PepsiCo Inc. is halting operations in a Mexican town where it has become too dangerous to operate, almost three months after rival Coca-Cola Femsa did the same.

The company says gangs are shaking businesses down in the area and it's unable to guarantee the safety of its employees, the Mexico City daily El Financiero reported on its website. The town, Ciudad Altamirano, is located in the southwestern state of Guerrero, which has experienced a surge of violence in recent years.

Grupo Gepp bottles and distributes beverages for PepsiCo in Mexico.

Coca-Cola Femsa, Latin America's largest soft drink bottler, announced similar measures in March when it indefinitely closed its distribution operations there. The company cited months of harassment by criminal groups and the lack of an effective police response.

Guerrero has seen homicides soar 19 percent this year, according to data posted on the Interior Ministry's website. Nationwide, homicides have surged this year, outpacing 2017, which saw the most deaths on record.

Although the state and federal governments have attempted to boost security in the area, impunity still prevails, El Financiero reported. Closing operations will affect distribution to six nearby municipalities, according to the newspaper.