Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC today announced the merger of its juice and water businesses, and the abolition of the centre regional division in the dairy segment. These moves are in line with the company's intention to simplify its business structure and create cost-effective synergies between the existing businesses.

Prior to the merger, the water business was run as a separate entity with its own marketing and finance departments, distribution network and sales force. The merger, which comes into effect as of 1 March, will allow the company to significantly reduce administrative, and selling and distribution expenses, as well as benefit from economies of scale in terms of transportation and negotiating power with distributors and supermarkets. The unified juice and water business segment will be headed up by Jay Yadegar, who currently heads up Wimm-Bill-Dann's Water business.
Prior to his appointment as head of water, Yadegar, who joined Wimm-Bill-Dann in 2002, served as the company's head of investor relations.

In line with the same strategy of reducing overall costs, the dairy business segment has also been restructured. Historically it has been comprised of seven regional divisions - the centre, the north-west, the south, Ukraine, Siberia, the Urals and Central Asia - each with its own management and marketing teams. All the divisions subordinate to the management team of the overall dairy segment.

In order to simplify the structure and reduce costs, the centre division, which includes Moscow and Russia's central regions, ceases to exist with immediate effect. All the production facilities, which fall under this division, will now subordinate directly to the management of the overall dairy segment. The dairy segment will therefore now be comprised of six regional divisions.