Economy

Danone to exit dairy business in India after losses

Danone to exit dairy business in India after losses

French FMCG firm Danone is shutting down its loss-making dairy segment in India, meaning all the dairy products - from their yogurts to their smoothies - will be taken off the shelves, the company said in a statement.

Danone exited its dairy business in India to recast its portfolio to maximise growth opportunities and will be focusing more on investing in those categories that are rapidly growing.

In March past year, the firm was determined to make a significant mark in the dairy market by launching its greek yogurt product and expanding its dairy business extensively by 2020.

The change in focus will result in the closure of a Danone facility near Delhi. "For this reason, we will discontinue some of the SKUs sold in India", a Danone India spokesperson said.

"We have great ambitions for our business in India and remain committed to invest and grow in India through well-established brands such as Protinex, Aptamil, Farex, Dexolac and Neocate", a spokesperson said.

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While, its dairy portfolio comprised packaged milk, yogurts, value-added milk-based drinks and dahi, the dairy division remained at less than 10 per cent of its business here. Then there are larger co-operative players such as Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which sells its products under the Amul brand.

Danone had forayed into India's dairy market in 2010, a year after ending a joint venture with biscuits major Britannia Industries.

In 2016, Kwality Ltd, India's largest private dairy firm by revenues, had raised Rs 520 crore ($77.4 million at the time) from alternative investment giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co Ltd (KKR) in a structured finance transaction to boost its consumer facing business. Danone's factory at Lalru, which is involved in manufacturing infant nutrition products, will continue to function as usual. It started the the nutrition business in 2012 with the acquisition of nutrition portfolio from Wockhardt Group.

It hopes to double the size of the unit by 2020 in line with its global mission to "bring health through food to as many people as possible".


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