Danone has announced plans to sell its remaining stake in Japanese probiotics firm Yakult, the company said in a statement.
'In accordance with its continued focus on capital allocation discipline and balance sheet strength, Danone launches today the sale via an accelerated bookbuilding process of its remaining 6.61% stake in Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd,' Danone said.
Danone's collaboration with Yakult commenced in 2004, with the French dairy firm divesting most of its 21.29% stake in the company in 2018.
It said that following the announcement that it would be divesting its remaining stake, the two businesses 'reconfirm their commitment to the longterm strategic collaboration to promote probiotics'.
Existing commercial partnerships between the two businesses, which include joint ventures in India and Vietnam, remain in place.
Founded in Japan in the 1930's, Yakult is now available worldwide, including in 13 European markets.
In July, the business announced it was establishing two new branches in China, in Hengyang, Hunan Province, and Wuhu, Anhui Province, following this up with a new office in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province in August.
The move has strengthened the company's position in the world's most populous nation, where it now operates 49 sales offices.
ESM travelled to Japan in late 2019 to meet Hiroshi Narita, senior managing executive officer at Yakult Honsha, and discover more about the brand's future prospects. That article can be found here.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine