Paris, September 30th, 2009 - Danone and Wahaha Group are pleased to announce that they have reached an amicable settlement today, subject to the approval of the Chinese Authorities. The settlement has been the outcome of renewed efforts of both parties to put a final end to their dispute through productive negotiations that have taken place in a spirit of mutual respect and with the support of both the Chinese and French governments.
As part of the settlement, Danone and Wahaha are to conclude their existing joint venture relationships. Danone has agreed to sell its 51% interest in the Danone-Wahaha joint-ventures to its Chinese partners. The execution of this agreement will put an end to all legal proceedings related to the disputes between the two parties.
Commenting on the transaction, Franck Riboud, CEO and Chairman of Danone, stated: “The collaboration between Danone and Wahaha helped to build a strong and respected leader in the Chinese beverage industry. We are confident that Wahaha will continue to be highly successful under its future management guidance. Danone has a longstanding commitment to China where it has been present since 1987 and we are keen to accelerate the success of our Chinese activities, in keeping with our mission of bringing health through food to the largest number of people.”
Mr. Zong Qinhou, Chairman of the Wahaha Group said: “China is an open country. Chinese people are broad-minded people. Chinese companies are willing to cooperate and grow with the world’s leading peers on the basis of equality and reciprocal benefit.”
Danone is a Fortune 500 company and one of the most successful healthy food companies in the world. Its mission is to bring health through tasty, nutritious and affordable food and beverage products to as many people as possible. Fulfilling this mission is a major contributor to Danone’s continuous rapid growth. Danone, with 160 plants and around 80,000 employees, has a presence in all five continents and over 120 countries. In 2008, Danone recorded € 15.2 billion in sales. Danone enjoys leading positions on healthy food in four businesses: fresh dairy products (n°1 worldwide), water (n° 2 on the packaged water market), baby nutrition (n°2 worldwide) and medical nutrition. Listed on Euronext Paris, Danone is also ranked among the main indexes of social responsibility: Dow Jones Sustainability Index Stoxx and World, ASPI Eurozone and Ethibel Sustainability index.