Russia's Wimm-Bill-Dann group has reported a 12.4 per cent increase in first half volume sales, but the performance was driven not by its core dairy business but by the rapidly expanding juice and water businesses.
Total volumes for all three businesses were 773,600 tons, with juice volumes rising 19.6 per cent to 268,000 tons and dairy volumes up by a more modest 8.7 per cent to 504,700 tons.
The new bottled water business - Sanctuary Valdai - launched in May, has already contributed strongly to the company's results, with sales reaching 1,000 tons in just two months.
WBD is keen to tap the enormous potential of bottled water in Russia, a market which is still very much in its infancy outside the major urban centres.
The company is clearly hoping that its strong nationwide distribution network - one of the very few in Russia - will give it an advantage as it moves into this new business stream, and sales for the full year are likely to be far in excess of the $24.7 million (€22m) recorded in 2002.
The company currently manages 23 facilities across Russia and in the CIS and controls a 30 per cent share of the Russian dairy product market and a 30 per cent share of the Russian juice market.