In international markets France-based Yoplait operates a franchise model with partners such as General Mills in the US and National Foods in Australia.
Now Yoplait is looking to extend its reach in the Middle East with the help of Agthia – a major UAE food and drink company that is currently the distributor for Capri-Sun juices.
Although Agthia has no experience in the dairy sector, Yoplait said the company is well positioned to take its brands forward in the region. “We believe Agthia has a solid local footprint and a professional management team,” said Yoplait CEO Lucien Fa.
Under the agreement between the companies, Agthia will start manufacturing and distributing Yoplait branded products on an exclusive basis by the end of 2011. The agreement initially covers the UAE but will be eventually expanded in the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.
Regarding market strategy, Agthia CEO Ilias Assimakopoulos: “Beyond the traditional segment of plain yoghurt and laban, we believe there is room for innovative new categories for kids, teenagers and adults.”
News of the partnership comes just weeks after reports hit the press suggesting that PAI partners, the joint owner of Yoplait is considering selling its 50 per cent share in the company.
Currently Yoplait is jointly owned by PAI and the French dairy cooperative Sodiaal. The company achieved a turnover of over €3.5bn last year, making it the second largest brand of fresh dairy products. It has a presence in almost 50 countries and North America accounts for almost 50 per cent of its gross turnover.