Yoplait chief sees Nestle as 'ideal' partner: report

21st November 2010, Comments 0 comments

The head of French dairy food company Yoplait said in a newspaper interview on Sunday that Swiss food giant Nestle would make an "ideal" partner, with major investment planned in China and India.

Yoplait, the world's second-biggest dairy food producer, is in the midst of a battle to take over a 50 percent stake in the company that investment group PAI wants to sell.

Chief executive Lucien Fa told the Swiss newspaper Le Matin Dimanche that he wanted to break with the company's franchise system and take greater control of operations in local markets.

"That means big investments, especially for China and India, our priorities," he explained.

Nestle is "in terms of the company profile, the ideal candidate," Fa was quoted as saying.

"It has the money, the structures, the people. It's everywhere and shares (our) concern for products that are good for health," and would help "reduce the gap with Danone," he added.

Yoplait's owners on on Thursday rejected a 1.4-billion-euro (1.9-billion-dollar) 100 percent takeover offer from French group Lactalis.

Nestle and US giant General Mills, which has made and distributed Yoplait products in the United States for nearly three decades, are seen as other possible investors.

Yoplait is present in 50 countries and employs 1,500 people, 1,300 of them in France, and has global sales of about 3.5 billion euros, second only sector-leader Danone.

© 2010 AFP

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