• Danone ups stake in Morocco's Centrale Laitière
  • Deal worth EUR550m

Danone has taken a majority stake in Moroccan dairy firm Centrale Laitière.

The French food giant has upped its investment in Morocco's "leading dairy products company" from 29.2% to 67% by buying part of the stake owned by Societe Nationale d'Investissement, a local holding company. The deal is worth EUR550m (US$683.3m).

Danone has held a stake in Centrale Laitière since 2001 and sells dairy products in neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia.

Dairy processors are looking to expand in north Africa, where demand for dairy products has grown. Last year, The Irish Dairy Board said it would expand in Algeria.

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Danone is raising its interest in Centrale Laitière to 67.0% by acquiring part of SNI's shareholding for a total €550 million[1].

Centrale Laitière, of which Danone has been a 29.2% shareholder since 2001, is Morocco's leading dairy product company with nearly 60% of the market. It has sales of around €600 million in a fast-growing market and operates the country's largest distribution platform with 30 storage hubs serving 70,000 points of sales. The Danone brand is already very well known in Morocco through products including Yawmy, Moufid and Activia, all sold by Centrale Laitière.

The current transaction represents a key step in Danone's development in Morocco. It will allow the Group to invest more in a market with major potential, and thus support growth of the local dairy industry. The move also confirms the strategic appeal of markets in North Africa for Danone.

This acquisition is subject to the approval of relevant authorities and is expected to be finalized by the end of 2012.

With a majority interest, Danone will fully integrate Centrale Laitière into its consolidated accounts, and the transaction will be accretive for Danone net earnings per share from the first year.

[1] or 6,050 million dirhams, equal to €550 million at an exchange rate of 11 dirhams / 1 euro.


Original source: Danone