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Courts freeze 10 Wahaha units assets
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The dispute between Wahaha Group and France's Groupe Danone escalated as assets of 10 foreign-registered companies under Wahaha were frozen at the request of Danone, the French firm confirmed yesterday.


Last Wednesday, assets of two subsidiaries of China's largest beverage maker, Mega Source Investments Ltd and Honour Bright Investments Ltd, were frozen and put into receivership under the order of the Supreme Court of Samoa in Apia, the 21st Century Business Herald said yesterday.


On November 9, the High Court of the British Virgin Islands placed the other eight firms registered there into receivership and froze their assets until further notice.


The eight firms under Wahaha were Golden Dynasty Enterprise Ltd, Gold Factory Developments Ltd, Platinum Net Ltd, Sunworld Enterprises Ltd, Great Base International Ltd, Bountiful Gold Trading Ltd, Ever Maple Trading Ltd and Wintell Enterprises Ltd.


Four companies under Danone filed claims against the above offshore subsidiaries of Wahaha in the British Virgin Islands and Samoa, the French food giant confirmed yesterday in a statement. But Danone refused to release further details.


KPMG, an international auditing firm, has been appointed receiver of each of the British Virgin Islands companies, while another receiver was appointed for the two Samoan entities.


Under the court orders, the receivers' primary role will be to identify, locate and secure the assets of these 10 Wahaha companies.


Wahaha declined to comment yesterday.


Industry insiders said Danone's move aims to prevent Hangzhou-based Wahaha from transferring any assets to foreign countries during the legal process.


Danone, which teamed up with Wahaha in 1996, filed a lawsuit on June 4 against its Chinese partner for breaching their agreement by selling Wahaha-branded beverages without its permission.


Danone sought more than US$100 million for the alleged illegal sales.


(Shanghai Daily November 21, 2007)

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