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Danone Talks Go Nowhere
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French food giant Groupe Danone SA held emergency board meetings yesterday with new directors appointed by its Chinese joint venture partner Wahaha that ended without a breakthrough, the Chinese beverage maker said yesterday.


The Chinese directors, who were appointed after the departure of Zong Qinghou, chairman of the 39 joint ventures between Wahaha and Danone, did not reach any agreement with Danone yesterday. They also claimed the French company "laid a trap" and "ignored the rights of Chinese side board members".


Wahaha, China's largest drinks producer, said yesterday that the Danone's appointment of a new chairman to the deteriorating joint ventures was illegal.


The Paris-based company appointed Emmanuel Faber as the joint ventures' interim chairman after Zong resigned earlier this month amid a bitter feud with Danone.


"There were no discussions during the meeting. (Danone) merely took out a prepared resolution and demanded Chinese board members sign it," said several board members, who remained anonymous. "The board meetings broke up without achieving any substantial results."


In a statement yesterday, Wahaha said the Chinese directors refused to accept Faber as their new chairman.


(China Daily June 22, 2007)

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