Danone has completed the sale of its remaining 6.61% stake in the Japanese sweetened probiotic milk beverage brand Yakult Honsha via an accelerated book building process.

The company revealed that it divested the stake for a total gross consideration of €470m ($553m), which will strengthen Danone’s balance sheet.

The settlement of the transaction will take place on 9 October.

Headquartered and listed in Japan, Yakult is a key player in probiotics milk beverage segment.

The company claims that its probiotic milk is fermented with the bacteria strain Lactobacillus paracasei Shirota.

The move is allegedly part of Danone’s continued focus on its capital allocation discipline and balance sheet strength.

Danone began its partnership with Yakult in 2004.

The two companies added that they would continue their long-term strategic collaboration to promote probiotics.

Danone added that the existing commercial partnerships, including joint-ventures (JV) in India and Vietnam, will remain in place.

Danone sold 21.29% of its stake in the company in 2018.

Despite the sale in 2018, Danone remained the largest stakeholder in the probiotics milk beverage brand.

In July, Danone announced a series of investments in China to strengthen the local market capabilities, support and commitment of its Specialized Nutrition business.

He company hopes that these investments will enable it to broaden and deepen its range of nutritional products and services that are tailored to Chinese health needs, traditions and tastes.

As part of this initiative, Danone would be investing nearly €100m for the acquisition of local infant milk formula capabilities. The company will also be opening an open-science research centre in Shanghai and the expansion of capacity to develop offerings in FSMP (Food for Special Medical Purposes).