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Oct 10 (Reuters) - Whitbread's Costa coffee chain is buying the 49 percent of a joint venture in south China held by Yueda Group to bolster its presence in the country, the British firm said on Tuesday.
Whitbread said it would pay 35 million pounds ($46 million)for the stake.
Costa currently owns 51 percent of the joint venture which operates 252 stores in southern China, along with 93 stores in Shanghai.
The business will continue to be consolidated in Costa's and Whitbread's financial accounts, the company said.
The deal comes at a time when Whitbread, which also runs Premier Inn hotels, is battling a tough retail environment in its home market of Britain.
($1 = 0.7594 pounds) (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)