Huiyuan Juice Group, China's largest juice firm, has warned that profits for the first half of 2009 are likely to fall significantly.

Uncertainty surrounding Coca-Cola Co's attempt to buy the juice firm led to a "significance decrease in sales" during the six months to the end of June, Huiyuan said today (7 August).

It warned that it is likely to report operating losses for the half-year, compared to the same period of 2008.

Other factors that have damaged the group's performance include restructuring initiatives.

The firm said it expects performance to improve in the second half of 2009, "as the uncertainties associated with the proposed Coca-Cola takeover offer have been cleared, as a result of its lapse, and the economic benefits of the implemented restructuring initiatives will gradually crystallise".

Last year, Coca-Cola Co agreed to acquire Huiyuan for US$2.4bn, but China's Ministry of Commerce blocked the deal in March this year due to competition concerns.

Hong-Kong-based Huiyuan, which reported a 6% sales rise in 2008, is China's largest juice firm with a 42% market share.