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Arbitrator Awards Pepsico $94 Million

PepsiCo Inc. said Wednesday an international arbitrator awarded it $94 million in damages from Coca-Cola Co. over a bottling dispute in Venezuela.

The ruling by the International Court of Arbitration stems from Venezuela’s largest bottler defecting overnight to Coke last year.

The switch by the Cisneros Group suddenly left Pepsi with no business in the country after controlling 80 percent of Venezuela’s cola market. It returned to production after reaching a deal with Polar, a top Venezuelan brewer.

No one was available for comment at Coke’s headquarters in Atlanta late Wednesday.

In December, Venezuelan regulators fined Coke and Cisneros about $1.9 million but did not void their contract. Pepsi had claimed the alliance violated anti-monopoly laws and asked that it be dissolved.

The fines were imposed because of Coke’s monopolization of other sodas besides its own brand.

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