French group Danone has bought out the shares of minority shareholders in the joint with Unimilk company and thus became majority owner of the JV. About it journalists were reported by the head of Danone Russia Bernard ducro, the correspondent .
“Today I would like to tell you that the minority shareholders realize their put option in favour of the company Danone. Shareholders have reached an agreement that the time has come for a new turn in the development of the company. What does this mean? In the current environment, the already difficult, more rapid, simplified, efficient management structure”, he said.
The amount of the transaction for realization of the put option ducro not called. The Director of public relations and state bodies “Danone Russia” after the press conference, told reporters that Danone now owns 92.5% of the combined company. Another 7.5% of the company’s shares are owned by EBRD.
According to ducro, with a single shareholder, the company will develop “much more effective”. The new structure allows more quickly and effectively to control strategy development.
Company Unimilk was founded in 2002 by Andrew Beskhmelnitskiy and its partners. In 2010, Unimilk, which was then ranked second in the Russian dairy market (after “Wimm-bill-Dann”), announced a merger with the Russian unit of Danone (working in Russia since 1992). Then the owners of the Russian holding company received 42% of the merged company and €120 million in cash. Danone acquired control over the company as 58% of the JV.
In accordance with the agreement on the merger of assets, the transaction was carried out mainly by means of putting assets, the portion of the shares was paid by company Danone money resources. Under the deal, the shareholders of “Unimilk” was put of the put option. Following the transaction the group’s net debt Danone, as indicated in the release, will increase by €1.3 billion, including due to the valuation of put options.
Under the terms of the transaction, the shareholders of “Unimilk” could exercise their options from 2014 to 2022. Until 2013, the JV was called “Danone-Unimilk”, then changed the official name to “Group of companies Danone in Russia”.
Co-founder of “Unimilk” Andrey Beskhmelnitskiy through a representative declined to comment on the deal, promising to answer questions later.
According to the Danone website, now the group consists of 18 factories, which produces products under such brands as Danone, “ACTIVIA”, Actimel, “Rastishka”, “Danissimo”, “Prostokvashino”, “Bio Balance”, “Relevant”, “Smeshariki”, “Subject” and others. The group owns 190 industrial centers in the departments of the company employs about 100 thousand people.
According to ducro, the company’s turnover in value terms in Russia by the end of 2015 amounted to more than 100 billion rubles, which is 4-5% higher than in 2014, reports “RIA Novosti”.
In January 2015 the head of the company did not rule out closing factories in Russia in the case of a significant deterioration of the economic situation. However, the businessman has specified that closures will not happen in the next one or two years, but in the long term this decision may be revised.
Prior to that, in 2013, Danone has closed factories in Smolensk, Togliatti and Novosibirsk. At the end of 2015, the group announced the closure of factories in Tomsk and Cheboksary.