WBD continues dairy investment

Related tags Milk Dairy

Wimm-Bill-Dann (WBD), the leading dairy and fruit juice producer in
Russia, has announced the completion of its latest stage of its
production and moderisation program at Baltic dairy factory OJSC.
The group, which has been investing heavily in a so far unsucessful
attempt at attracting a western investor, claims that this latest
investment has further increased efficiency and sales.

The company claims that its investment in its Baltic operation during 2003 allowed it to increase its sales volumes by 41 per cent year on year. It invested over €5 million between 2003 and early 2004. The main aim of the investment was to improve the efficiency of packaging lines for milk production, sour milk products, drinkable yoghurts and other dairy based products, the company diclosed. WBD said that the programme allowed it to expand its product portfolio for the Baltic region.

This year three new packaging lines have been installed at the plant. In February, the company installed a packing machine for its whipped curd desserts and installed a system to improve production of its glazed curd products. The move allowed the company to produce a new range of products under its Chudo, Ginger Up and Frugurt brands.

In March the company installed equipment supplied by Tetra Pak that improved the group's range of milk and sour milk products in packaging with caps.

WBD said that the investments are part of its continuing plan to modernise its programmes across its production base, aimed at meeting consumer demand and enhancing operating efficiencies trough the introduction of world-class technology to dairy production.

In recent years the company has shown strong commitment to the improvement and modernisation of its production base. It has invested heavily in order to increase its foothold in the Russian and CIS markets and to modernise existing facilities. Nevertheless, such investments have impacted recent financial results and in order to continue with the investment programme securing outside investment has become a major prerogative for the company.

According to its financial results for the year 2003, the company core dairy sales increased 6.3 per cent, while sales for its juice and mineral water divisions showed greater growth margins on smaller base volumes. The company would argue that investment in these sectors has aided this growth.

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