Yashili Group, a Chinese baby food maker, is preparing for an initial public offering later this year, according to reports.

According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, the move represents a dramatic change in confidence from just a couple of years ago when it was caught up in a food safety scandal, where six children died and thousands were hospitalised.

Private equity fund Carlyle Group, which owns a 17.3% stake in the company were unable to be reached for comment.

Separately Yashili said it has appointed safety experts to help improve customer confidence in its products. The six-person panel will be headed by Robert Brackett, a former director of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Carlyle bought its stake in Yashili in September 2009 and the WSJ said the fund has invested $7m more since the safety scandal.