China Huiyuan to buy Suntory's Chinese tea, coffee drink units

HONG KONG, March 20 Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:26pm EDT

HONG KONG, March 20 (Reuters) - China Huiyuan Juice Group Ltd will buy 117.7 million yuan ($18.99 million) worth of assets from Suntory (China) Holding Co Ltd as the Hong Kong-listed fruit and vegetable juice producer expands its product portfolio to tea and coffee drinks.

Huiyuan on Thursday said it will buy Suntory (Shanghai) Foods Co Ltd as well as 50 percent of Suntory (Shanghai) Foods Marketing Co Ltd.

As part of the deal, Huiyuan will issue 117.7 million yuan worth of shares to Japan's Suntory Holdings Ltd, the parent of Suntory (China).

Huiyuan said the deals will allow it to establish a strategic partnership with the Suntory group for the sale and development of Suntory brand products in China, in particular teas and coffees.

Shares of Huiyan were down 0.6 percent at 0315 GMT compared with a 0.8 percent fall in the benchmark index.

Huiyuan, which holds as much as 56 percent of China's pure juice market by sales volume, on Wednesday posted a sharp jump in 2013 net profit thanks to an improved profit margin and gains from asset sales. ($1 = 6.1965 Chinese Yuan) (Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Christopher Cushing)