French multinational food products giant Danone is planning a comeback in the dairy industry by leading an investment of Rs 182 crore into local yoghurt maker Epigamia. This move will help the company to retain its presence in the market.
Confirming on the deal, Laurent Marcel, MD of Danone’s venture investment arm said, “This is a minority venture investment, so Epigamia will continue to operate independently.” Marcel also said, “Danone would collaborate with Epigamia in areas of brand management, distribution expansion, manufacturing, quality and food safety through the investment would be independent of Danone’s business in India.”
Danone exited its dairy operations in India last year but it has continued to run its nutrition business comprising brands such as Protinex and Farex. Protinex and Farex were the brands that Danone had acquired from Wockhardt about eight years ago.
Marcel also added, “This is a promising opportunity to partner with a modern and agile consumer brand which is attractive to millennials and positioned in a dynamic and high potential market,”
Epigamia’s co-founder and CEO Rohan Mirchandani also told that Cipla’s executive vice-chairman and member of the company’s founding family Samina Vaziralli is also co-investing with Danone.
Mirchandani said that the fresh funding got because of the deal will help the company to execute an ‘ambitious’ business plan and to roll out its dairy products distribution across 25 cities in India.
Sangeeta Talwar, author of The Two-Minute Revolution and former South Asia president of Tata Global Beverages said, “Danone would be gaining a foothold in the value-added end of the yoghurt market, which requires restricted distribution through this investment.” She also added, “This is complementary to their product portfolio in international markets.”