FRANCE: Danone in Wahaha China crisis?
Groupe Danone appears to be on a collision course with one of its joint venture partners in China.
Local reports this week have claimed that Zong Qinghou, chairman of the country's biggest beverage maker Hangzhou Wahaha Group, is resisting moves by Danone to acquire full control of their Wahaha joint venture.
Danone owns 51% of the joint venture, which has the exclusive rights of production, distribution and sales of products under the Wahaha brand, with the remaining 49% resting in Chinese shareholder hands.
"If all of China's major companies are controlled by foreign ones, the lives of Chinese people would be greatly affected," Zong told local reporters. "Our own expansion should not be restricted by foreign partnership and we must own control."
When contacted by just-drinks today, however (11 April), Danone looked to play down the situation. "What we would like to do is integrate the companies developed by Mr Zong into the joint venture," a spokesperson said.
Although the spokesperson confirmed that Danone is in discussions with Zong, she could not elaborate on what stage those discussions have reached, or where they are being held.
"The global idea is that Mr Zong's behaviour is quite usual for someone who is in negotiations with another party," the spokesperson added. "He is trying to put pressure on those negotiations."
While the discussions are "ongoing", the spokesperson would not be drawn on when a conclusion would be reached.
The Wahaha brand covers water, lactic beverages, energy drinks and RTD teas in China.
The growth of still soft drinks, such as juices and functional waters, presents manufacturers with a problem, as they are more susceptible to spoilage than traditional carbonated drinks. However, thei...
Although a small sector in volume terms, the energy drinks category punches above its weight in the global soft drinks market in value, and has outpaced market growth for many years. While the rate of...
Sales of functional dairy drinks across Western Europe, the US and Japan are projected to reach over EUR6bn (US$8.5bn) by 2011, according to a study on the sector by market analysts Zenith Internation...
The popularity of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) among soft drinks producers is on the wane, according to recent research....
China Water & Drinks has entered into a deal to acquire a stake in packaging company Hutton Holdings Corporation....
Red Bull has taken a hammering from a consumer magazine in Germany....
The chief legal officers from 29 states have united to condemn alcoholic energy drinks....
Boo Koo Holdings has appointed two new members to its board of directors....
- Guinness: A Great Day for St James's Gate
- Will Remy come off worse in China Cognac recovery?
- William Grant and Drambuie: It Had to be You
- Wines of the Beautiful South Ups its Game
- Can Absolut's US Headache be Soothed by Elyx?
- Bacardi-Martini appoints Southern Europe chief
- Diageo opens Guinness Brewhouse No 4 in Dublin
- William Grant gives Sailor Jerry pack revamp
- Scottish leader speaks out over Scotch whisky
- Wm Grant CMO to head Orangina Scweppes Int'l