France-based food and drink company Danone, through its UK subsidiary, has agreed to acquire a majority stake in UK bottled water firm Harrogate Water.

Harrogate owns water brand Harrogate Spring Water and charitable water brand Thirsty Planet.

The Cain family, the current shareholders of Harrogate Water, will remain as minority shareholders.

Harrogate Water CEO James Cain: “We are delighted to have found the right partner to take Harrogate Water forward on its journey while respecting and celebrating our history and heritage.

“Danone and Harrogate Water have a shared ethos and approach to community and sustainability. As a family business, we are all about our people; our colleagues,  partners and customers. Together with the team at Danone, we are confident we will continue this success, with a considered, like-minded approach.”

James Cain will join the management team of Danone Waters UK.

Danone Waters UK & Ireland managing director James Pearson said: “I am thrilled to welcome Harrogate Water to the Danone family. This move will expand our offering in the UK and help to meet growing demand in sparkling water and on-the-go consumption.”

Meanwhile, Danone has trimmed its sales growth and profit margin targets for 2020, as the Covid-19 (coronavirus) affects demand in China.

The company anticipates the coronavirus to reduce sales by €100m ($109m) in the first quarter, mostly in its bottled water business in China.

Based in Paris, Danone’s existing bottled water range includes Activia, Actimel, Alpro, Aptamil, Danette, Danio, Dannon, Danonino, Evian, Nutricia, Nutrilon and Volvic.