On 24 October, Suntory Ltd. announced that it had agreed a buyout of New Zealand’s second largest beverage manufacturer Frucor, a wholly owned subsidiary of French food giant Group Danone SA, for approximately JPY 75 billion. Suntory will strengthen its beverage business in New Zealand and Australia through the buyout of Frucor, which manufactures and sells health beverages and fruit juices in the two countries. By early 2009 Suntory will have acquired the shares to make Frucor a wholly owned subsidiary. Danone purchased Frucor in 2002 but, due to a reorganization of the business, decided on a plan to sell the firm this summer, garnering interest from food makers from numerous countries around the world, including Asia.
The Frucor Group was first established in New Zealand in 1962, and is currently the second largest cold beverage firm in New Zealand, with very fast growth in Australia, too. Its main line of “V” brand beverages is the energy drink (nutritional carbonated beverages) market leader in both New Zealand and Australia. Between January and December 2007, the company made sales of JPY 30.3 billion. Through the current purchase, by establishing a base in New Zealand and Australia, with Frucor at the center, in order to expand its cold beverage business in the Asia-Pacific region, Suntory is effectively announcing that it plans to pursue a global strategy.