Following the signature in March 2004 of an agreement establishing a strategic alliance between Groupe DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd., the two world leaders in probiotics have developed a fruitful relationship marked by a wide variety of common projects. These include the establishment of joint ventures in India and Vietnam, the deployment of exchange programs in research, the foundation of the Global Probiotic Council, and a joint organization of scientific symposia.
The steady strengthening of this cooperation backed by a permanent liaison bureau has made for a climate of trust that Groupe DANONE and Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd now wish to reinforce through even closer ties at the highest level of their organizations.
With this in mind, they have agreed that the Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd Board of Directors will welcome two additional DANONE representatives, raising the total number to four. The new Directors are Jacques Vincent, Groupe DANONE's Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, and Sven Thormahlen, Vice President, Research and Development.
The two companies have also agreed to extend the period for which DANONE has undertaken to maintain its current interest in Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd at 20.02%, the same level as in 2004, for a further three years to 2012.
Building on these new bases, the partners will be accelerating the pace of cooperation, particularly in research. In this spirit, Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd has just granted Groupe DANONE's Daniel Carasso Research Center a license for its YIF-Scan, a unique, high-precision system that quantifies bacteria, targeting gene sequences (RNA and DNA) specific to particular intestinal bacteria.