Danone plans to ramp up the growth of its Volvic water brand in Japan by entering into a joint venture with the Kirin Beverage corporation and Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi.

The new company, 51% held by Kirin, 25% by Danone and 24% by Mitsubishi, will handle the importation, marketing and sales of Volvic as well as the production, marketing and sales of Alkali Ion, the brand that will be brought to the company by Kirin.

The French food group said the partnership would allow the Volvic brand access to the powerful Kirin distribution network - third in Japan - and would “in particular double Volvic’s coverage in the vending machine channel”.

Mitsubishi has distributed the Volvic brand since 1993 for Danone which claims to be the market leader in value of the bottled water market in Japan.