Danone eyes Chinese water businesses

Danone eyes Chinese water businesses

Danone is on the lookout for bottled water acquistions in China as it looks to expand its waters business in emerging markets, according to a report.

Danone intends to invest more in its waters business in China and this could include acquisition of local brands or water sources, the head of Danone Waters China, Jacques Ponty, told the China Daily news publication this week. His comments came as the firm opened an expansion at its Longmen plant in Guangdong province.

Danone and its rivals have bee seeking to expand water operations in emerging markets to offset sluggish demand in Western Europe and North America. In the first half of 2010, Danone raised its stake in Damavand, a major player in Iran's mineral water market, from 40% to 70%.

Emerging markets accounted for 54% of Danone's bottled water sales by volume in the first half of this year. Group water sales rose by 4% compared with the same six months of 2009.

Danone has recently agreed to sell its stakes in Russian firm Wimm-Bill-Dann and China's Huiyuan Juice Group.