US-based private equity group Warburg Pincus has declined to comment on a report that it has walked away from a stake in Huiyuan Juice Group.

Warburg refused to comment to just-drinks today (10 June), following an article published this week by the Financial Times (FT), claiming that it has pulled out of a potential 7% equity stake in Huiyuan.

Despite Warburg's silence, Huiyuan's share price still fell from HK$6.50 (US$0.8) on Monday to $6.02 at the end of business on the Hong Kong stock exchange today.

According to the FT, the investor group had until May to re-acquire bonds that had been farmed off to the Royal Bank of Scotland and convert them into an equity stake in Huiyuan.

If correct, Warburg's decision to walk away could signal weakening confidence in Huiyuan following a decision by China's Ministry of Commerce to block a US$2.4bn takeover bid for the firm from The Coca-Cola Co.

Hong Kong-based Huiyuan is China's largest juice group, with a market share of more than 40%. 
 
Huiyuan's share price plummeted from HK$10.5 to $4.80 in just two days in March, in the wake of the Ministry of Commerce ruling.