Danone has received the backing of the president of France, while embroiled in its current legal battle with China's Wahaha, according to reports.

During a state visit yesterday (25 November), the French president Nicolas Sarkozy spoke to China's president Hu Jintao on behalf of Danone, said a Reuters report.

The news service cited French officials claiming that "President Hu took note", but that the outcome of the conversation was "not conclusive but not negative either".

Since June, Danone and Wahaha have been embroiled in a legal dispute over their beverages venture in China. Danone has accused Wahaha of breaching their agreement by selling drinks under the Wahaha brand without permission.

Last week, Danone won a court order freezing the assets of ten overseas firms with alleged links to its estranged Chinese partner.

Danone joined forces with Wahaha in 1996 and has a 51% stake in the original venture.