Nestle is reportedly interested in Danones medical nutrition arm

Nestle is reportedly interested in Danone's medical nutrition arm

Swiss food giant Nestle has refused to comment on rumours it is one of the four firms interested in purchasing the medical nutrition unit of Danone.

Speculation that Danone was planning to sell off its medical nutrition arm, Nutricia, started last month. However Danone told just-food it had "no comment to make".

The Nutricia brand has two main priorities: Improve the quality of life of frail people, either elderly or babies, through nutrient-fortified food or food substitutes and to raise awareness of the role of nutrition in the health of ageing people in order to reduce overall health spending.

A spokesperson for Nestle told just-food today: "as a matter of principle, we do not comment on market rumours".

Toward the end of last month Danone reported a fall in 2013 profits as a result of rising costs in countries such as the US and Russia and the recall of infant formula in China.

However at the CAGE conference in London this week, COO Emmanuel Faber indicated the firm had reassessed its strategy in the market and is gearing up to deliver growth through "three engines" in China - the relaunched Dumex brand, a soon-to-be launched premium Nutricia brand and e-commerce.

He added that by tweaking Danone's product offering in Chinese infant nutrition the group plans to extend its appeal and broaden its competitive set.

The launch of Danone's "ultra-premium" Nutricia offering, which would be rolled out this year, is a "more tactical" move that pits it against the likes of Nestle's Wyatt Nutrition business, Faber revealed.