France’s Groupe Danone and Japan’s Yakult Honsha have today (Tuesday) announced plans for a joint venture in India.

Held equally by the two partners, the new company, to be called Yakult Danone India Private Limited, will be developing the Indian market for probiotics.

Yakult Danone India will initially market Yakult brand products, beginning at the end
of 2005, and Danone probiotics products and brands may be added later.

Aimed at creating India’s leading producer of probiotics, the move is part of an
agreement announced in March 2004 calling for cooperation between Groupe
Danone and Yakult Honsha.

By joining forces the two partners, will reinforce their leadership in probiotics and hope to develop operations jointly in a country where neither is yet present. The alliance will also strengthen joint efforts in research and development and raise awareness of probiotics around the world through the Global Probiotics Council and the establishment of joint working groups.

Groupe Danone holds a 20% interest in Yakult Honsha Co.