News briefs: Campina, Danone and Parmalat

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Yoghurt

This week, Campina enjoys dominance of Dutch retail on the back of
yoghurt sales, Danone may look to further expansion in the Americas
and Parmalat makes another out of court settlement.

Healthy yoghurts aid Campina sales An increase in demand for health-focused yoghurts has allowed dairy group Campina to remain the biggest selling brand in the Netherlands for a sixth consecutive year, according to new market research.

Products such as the Optimel yoghurt range tapped into consumer demands for products with reported health benefits, allowing the group to post strong saless in the market, according to reseach group IRI.

The dairy cooperative said that supermarket turnover of its brand had amounted to €380m in 2007 as a result.

However, it was not all good news for Campina, with the research finding that turnover in the company's other segments, like the shrinking milk and custard, had declined.

Danone prepares for Colombian investment Danone is reportedly set to make a €100m investment in its Colombian operations according to press reports.

The group, which operates in the country through a joint venture with local producer Alqueria, have already worked together to build a $20m yoghurt factory in Cajica, on the outskirts of Bogota, the Dow Jones Newswires service has reported this week.

The general secretary of the Danone Alqueria joint venture said the move was part of a wider plan to expand into neighboring countries like Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia as well, according to the report.

Danone announced it had entered into a joint venture with Alqueria last February, in a bid to boost its sales of fresh dairy products in the country.

Parmalat reaches new settlement Parmalat yesterday said it had reached an out of court settlement with Italian financial group Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena over its alleged role in the company's financial collapse.

The two companies said in a joint statement that Parmalat would receive €79.5m for settling outside of court.

The Italian dairy giant's fall created one of Europe's largest financial scandals when the company, under a previous administration, defaulted on more than €14bn in debt in 2003.

Under the current leadership of administrator Enrico Bondi, Parmalat has subsequently worked to stave off efforts by an Italian banking conglomerate to disintegrate the group.

This has led to the company pursuing various legal proceedings in Europe and the US against banks allegedly involved in having knowledge of the fraud.

In September, the company settled disputes with Graubuendner Kantonalbank and Credit Agricole Indosuez out of court for the sum of €20.7m and €2.63m respectively.

Parmalat posted financial assets totalling €58.9m during the first financial half of this year as a result of these proceedings.

By comparison, in the company's 2006 full year results, the group posted net debts of €170m. Net gains of €237m from legal settlements with financial institutions allegedly linked to its bankruptcy were highlighted as the key factor in this turnaround.

Related topics Markets Danone

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