Otsuka Pharmaceutical has signed an agreement to purchase a 49% stake in Alma, which produces Cristaline, France's leading bottled mineral water brand, the company said in a statement today (28 May).

The EUR750m transaction was closed on Monday in Paris and is seen as an important milestone for Otsuka Pharmaceutical's European consumer products business.

It will provide the company with a strong foothold in the European mineral water business with a platform for further expansion into the European market, a statement said.

Otsuka, best known in Japan for its Pocari Sweat soft drink and Calorie Mate energy bars posted sales of Y928.48bn for the year ended March. But while nearly 39% of overall sales come from overseas business, its drinks and foods presence in Europe so far has been limited.

Paris-based Alma has 34 production sites across Europe and manufactures brands including Cristaline, Courmayeur, St. Yorre and Vichy Célestins.