Danone and Indian Wadia group to end feud

7th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

NEW DELHI, March 7, 2007 (AFP) - French foods giant Groupe Danone and India's textiles-to-airline Wadia Group are in talks to settle a bitter row over their joint venture agreement, a report said Wednesday.

NEW DELHI, March 7, 2007 (AFP) - French foods giant Groupe Danone and India's textiles-to-airline Wadia Group are in talks to settle a bitter row over their joint venture agreement, a report said Wednesday.

The two groups are exploring renegotiating their 1991 joint venture deal to allow Danone to go it alone in some sectors without its Indian partner's consent, the Economic Times newspaper reported, quoting unnamed sources close to the discussions.

The groups are also discussing an out-of-court settlement on a petition filed by the Wadia Group against Danone in December 2006 over the French firm's bid to buy a 4.6 percent stake in Indian biotech firm Avestha Gengraine Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the newspaper said.

The Wadias blocked the deal, which media reports said was worth over 30 million dollars, saying Danone had broken their pact which they insisted stipulates any Indian investment must be done through their joint venture.

Danone and the Wadias are equal partners in a joint venture controlling India's biggest biscuit maker, Britannia Industries Ltd.

The Economic Times said both sides held a meeting in London two weeks ago to discuss elements of a settlement.

It said Danone had declined comment on the story while the Wadia group said it was "unaware of any such (rapprochement) plans."

Danone had said in a statement in late 2006 that the joint venture deal covered only investments in food and beverages and that Avesthagen, as a biotech company, was not covered by the agreement.

The newspaper quoted unnamed sources as saying the 1991 agreement was likely to be reworked to allow Danone more freedom to invest outside the joint venture. In return, the Wadias were likely to win some concessions such as greater operational control of Britannia, it added.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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