INDIA: Danone ends Wadia deal to go it alone
Danone has said it intends to pursue growth in India independently, after announcing the end of its joint venture in the country with Wadia Group.
After 13 years of an often turbulent partnership with India's Wadia Group, Danone said today (15 April) that is exiting the two firms' biscuit joint venture, Britannia.
The French dairy and water giant said it has agreed to sell its 50% stake in Britannia to Wadia. Financial details were not disclosed.
At the same time, Danone said that it intends to focus on growing consumer demand for health and wellness in India, but will do so "autonomously".
Danone president and CEO Franck Riboud said that the firm is "more than ever" determined to focus on health trends in India and plans to launch several of its own brands in the country "in the coming years". He did not name specific brands.
The move marks the end of one difficult joint venture partnership for Danone in one of Asia's most promising markets. Danone had become embroiled in a dispute with Wadia over the Tiger biscuit brand in India.
Separately, Danone is still fighting legal battles against its Chinese joint venture partner, Wahaha. Danone alleges that Wahaha illegally copied brands and sold them outside of the venture.
The dispute, which has raged from courtrooms in China to the US and the British Virgin Islands, is currently being heard by an arbitration court in Sweden.
A spokesperson for Danone in China told just-drinks today (15 April) that a ruling is expected in July.
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