French food giant Danone is believed to be interested in St Ivel, the yoghurts division of the UK food group Uniq (formerly Unigate), reports French financial paper Les Echos.
The British company, whose other products include the Marie frozen foods range and St Hubert low-fat margarine, said at the end of last year that it was considering various options, including a partnership, to enable it to stem St Ivel's losses. In the first half of its 2001-2002 fiscal year, this division saw its sales plunge 14 per cent, despite a number of marketing campaigns.
Danone, which refuses to comment on these reports, has so far focused on the "live" segment of the UK yoghurt market. Thanks to its Actimel and Activia brands, it controls 25 per cent of that country's live-yoghurt sector, compared with only 5 per cent of the UK yoghurt market as a whole.