Page last updated at 06:01 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 07:01 UK

Coca Cola in China antitrust case

Coca Cola bottles
Critics see the takeover bid as the potential loss of a national brand

China's competition watchdog says it will enforce anti-monopoly rules in reviewing Coca Cola's bid to buy Chinese juice company Huiyan.

US drinks giant Coca Cola is attempting to swallow the Chinese firm in a $2.5bn (1.4bn) bid.

The move will be closely watched as it is the first such case filed under the country's new antitrust laws.

Last week's bid sparked anger in China over the possible sale of a national champion to an overseas firm.

Drinks giant Coca Cola is keen to increase its presence in the country's fast growing drinks market.

For this reason, it agreed to pay 12.20 Hong Kong dollars per share - about three times the firm's closing price last Friday - for the firm.

Huiyan had a 44% market share by sales value in China's pure juice sector and 42% of the nectar sector in the first half of 2008, according to data from research firm AC Nielsen.

Huiyan said that Coca Cola was in the process of preparing the documents to send to Beijing competition authorities.

"We are prepared to accept the decision of the Ministry of Commerce one way or the other," said Matthew Mouw, Huiyan's vice president for strategic development.


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