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Danone Completes Russian Dairy Deal

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Danone Completes Russian Dairy Deal

Danone Completes Russian Dairy Deal
October 28
10:41 2010

Danone has finalised the sale of its 18.4% stake in Wimm Bill Dann Foods, the Russian dairy and food group for $470m. Danone has held the stake since Wimm Bill Dann Foods’ IPO in 2002.

The closing of the transaction was subject to the grant of the required regulatory approvals for the merger of Danone’s fresh dairy products operations in Russia with those of Unimilk, Russia’s second largest manufacturer of dairy products and baby food. Established in 2002, Unimilk operates 28 production plants in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus and has 14,000 employees. Unimilk’s sales in 2009 amounted to Eur1b (up 7% on 2008).

Wimm-Bill-Dann will fund the purchase of its shares from Danone from existing resources and will not require additional financing. Founded in 1992, Moscow-based Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods has grown rapidly to become the largest producer of dairy, baby food and beverage products in its native Russia and the CIS. The group employs over 16,000 people across 37 manufacturing facilities in Russia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. In 2005, Wimm-Bill-Dann became the first Russian dairy producer to receive approval from the European Commission to export its products into the European Union.

Since 2002, Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods has been expanding its geographical footprint by acquiring successful businesses in Russia and the CIS, and investing heavily in modernising its production facilities. Its strategy is to produce its core products in the regions where they are sold.

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