Danone sells stake in Chinese juice company

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French food group Danone said Wednesday it had sold its stake in China Huiyuan Juice Group Limited to the Hong Kong-based investment fund SAIF Partners for 200 million euros (260 million dollars).

"Determined to step up its presence on the Chinese market, Danone will continue to concentrate on growth opportunities in its four sectors in China" -- dairy products, mineral water, infant and medical nutrition, the company said.

Danone had a 22.98 percent stake in China Huiyuan Juice Group.

Danone has faced problems in its China business, going through a difficult two-year period in relations with its overall Chinese partner Wahaha.

At the heart of the dispute, which erupted in 2007, were some 40 enterprises launched by Wahaha founder Zong Qinghou that competed with Danone's joint venture operations in China with Wahaha.

The conflict was resolved in September last year, with Danone pulling out of the joint venture.

© 2010 AFP

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