Wimm-Bill-Dann (WBD) has concentrated recently on its burgeoning bottled water business, launching its own brand of water and acquiring another well-established company.
But the move into the potentially huge bottled water business does not mean that WBD is neglecting its core dairy business. The company yesterday announced that it had increased its participation in Ufamolagroprom, the largest milk processor in the Republic of Bashkortostan in the southern Urals.
WBD has added a further 47.7 per cent to its existing shareholding in the milk group, giving it 97.82 per cent of the company's shares. The price paid for the stake was $3.15 million (€2.7m).
Ufamolagroprom has been part of Wimm-Bill-Dann's dairy operations since March 2001, and the company has steadily increased its capacity since then.
Originally designed with a capacity of 240 tons of processed milk per day, the plant's current capacity stands at 600 tons, and it makes more than 140 different dairy products, from milk, butter, kefir, sour cream, curds, glazed curds and yoghurt to a number of traditional Bashkortostan dairy products.
The it also owns a number of well known Russian brands such as Little House in the Country, Happy Milkman, Zavetni Bidonchik, Wonder, Ginger Up, Frugurt, Bio-Max and Doctor Bifi.
WBD said that Ufamolagroprom was the most advanced manufacturer of cheese and cheese spreads in Russia, and that it recently launched a new cheese spread brand, Cheesemaker Orlova, which will compete strongly with both local and imported brands throughout Russia.
WBD has spent more than $700,000 in building, acquiring and refurbishing premises and equipment at Ufamolagroprom over the past year.