China's largest beverage maker, Hangzhou Wahaha Group have said they are opposed to a series of takeovers by the French group Danone which would result in the loss of Chinese control of their brand. Workers' representatives called for legal protection for Chinese brands against takeover by foreign companies, AFP reported. Wahaha, which Danone has a 51% stake in, will not agree to the French firm's plan to buy its remaining assets for US$519.48 million, according to Zong Qinghou, chairman of the Chinese beverage maker. The agreement would give the joint venture the exclusive right to produce, distribute and sell food and beverage products under the Wahaha brand-which the Chinese company said would prohibit it from making goods while imposing no restrictions on Danone itself. Danone, one of the world's largest yogurt makers, set up five joint ventures with Wahaha in 1996 under an agreement that bars the Chinese company from making products that compete with it. Danone has yet to comment on the objections.
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