Danone has sold its stake in Chinese’s largest juice group as its drinks arm tightens its focus on mineral water.

The French dairy giant will net €200m for its 23% share in Huiyan Juice Group, which was previously the subject of a landmark takeover attempt by Coca Cola. The buyer is a Hong Kong private equity fund, SAIF.

Coke’s bid for Huiyan was blocked by Chinese regulators last year, halting what would have represented the largest takeover of a Chinese company by a foreign investor.

Danone, which took its stake in Huiyan in 2007, said it remained committed to expanding its business in China despite the sale.

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World News 28/3/09 (28 March 2009)
Coca-Cola’s landmark China juice deal under threat (18 March 2009)