Yakult Honsha’s love affair with Yonghe is set to continue with the announcement of a second plant to be built in the economic zone in Guangzhou Province, China. The factory, which will produce the Yakult fermented milk drink, is slated to open in spring 2014.
With the recently opened Wrigley plant as neighbours, Yakult’s second facility will have a production capacity of 800,000 bottles per day when it opens. The company then plans to gradually enhance production to reach a capacity of 2m bottles per day at full speed.
This second plant will bring Yakult’s tally to four, with other factories in Shanhai and Tianjin, and combined production to nearly 5.2m bottles per day—up from 3.5m today.
Meanwhile, there has been little progress in the talks between Yakult and Danone on the possibility of the French food company taking a bigger stake in Yakult.
The talks began last month and have centred on the premise that the Japanese company would retain its independence.
Earlier this year, Yakult reportedly said it did not want Danone, its top shareholder, to increase its shareholding amid concerns that this might adversely reflect its independence. At the time, the food giant was said to be looking at ways to increase its stake from 20% to around 28%, Reuters reported.
Danone first took a holding in Yakult in 2000 and the two firms later entered into a strategic agreement in 2004. Under the terms of that deal, Danone could not lift its stake to more than 20% for five years.