Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods has acquired a 95 per cent stake in Depsona ZAO, a leading Tula, Central Russia-based juice and concentrate plant.
The company said that the deal was worth approximately $3.4 million (€3.5m). This now brings the number of manufacturing facilities comprising Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods to 20.
With the acquisition of Depsona, Wimm-Bill-Dann said it had strategically positioned itself as a major fruit juice and concentrate producer in Central Russia. The company said that the latest acquisition will give it full access to locally grown raw materials, optimising overall juice production costs. The aim is to give Wimm-Bill-Dann a more competitive edge in the Russian juice market, which is undergoing rapid consolidation.
Built in 1996 by Italian specialists, this state-of-the-art facility has a juice production capacity of 32 million litres per year (currently around 15,000 tons of juice and about 1,500 tons of apple concentrate are produced annually) and employs over 100 people. Depsona has a share of approximately 1.2 per cent of the Russian juice market and a strong consumer base in Central Russia, the Far East and the Black Sea coast. The Depsona brand was named "Brand of the Year" in Russia in 1999.
Dmitry Kolokatov, head of Wimm-Bill-Dann's Juice Division, stressed the importance of the latest acquisition: "Wimm-Bill-Dann and Depsona have a long history of working together. The factory is strategically positioned with easy access to large reserves of high-quality local raw materials, which will allow us to reduce our dependence on imported juice concentrates. Depsona is a good fit with our juice business as a whole, and a strong player in key regional markets."
Depsona ZAO manufactures a wide range of juices, nectars, juice-containing drinks, as well as juice purees and concentrates. All products are currently produced under three brands: Depsona, FructoPak and Limbo. Wimm-Bill-Dann said that it intends to preserve Depsona's brands and continue to utilise its existing distribution channels. At the same time, the company plans to install additional capacity at Depsona, which would enable it to produce various types of concentrates, new products, as well as work with new packaging formats. The factory will also be used to produce Wimm-Bill-Dann's national brands and act as a distribution hub for them.