Groupe Danone has approved the division by two of the nominal value of its shares.

The company said today (31 May), that the share capital will be raised from 261.4m shares at a nominal value of €0.50 (US$0.67) each to 522.9m shares at a nominal value of €0.25 ($0.34) each.

Danone has described the transaction as a way to improve the access to shares and increase their liquidity. The group said that its intention was "to enable as many investors as possible to become shareholders of the company and to give them greater flexibility in managing their portfolios".

The division will take effect at the beginning of June.

Earlier this week, local reports claimed that the French company has written to its joint venture partner, Hangzhou Wahaha, calling for a board meeting to discuss low sales targets for the JV. The paper said that Hangzhou Wahaha's chairman, Zong Qinghou, had forecast sales growth of 3% for the venture in 2007. Danone was cited as being "disappointed" by Zong's estimates.