Danone is renaming its Activia dairy brand in Russia to AktiBio in what the French giant described as a “localisation” move.
Only the brand name and packaging will be affected by the change, Danone said in a statement, adding AktiBio would be produced in the same manner, with the same quality and safety standards as Activia.
AktiBio will also be produced at the same “production facilities”, Danone said.
“Localisation of the international brand will allow the company to resume investment in the development and support of the modern dairy category, which will have a significant impact for the development of the entire category of modern dairy products in Russia,” Danone said in the statement.
Just Food has asked Danone for further comment.
In context, Danone said in October the company said it would exit its essential dairy and plant-based business (EDP) in Russia, including the Activia brand, after announcing in March it would halt investment in the country following the invasion of Ukraine.
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Last week, a report in Russia, quoting unnamed sources, reported that Danone was in talks with a potential buyer for Russian assets.
The report suggested Ekoniva was the likely buyer in a transaction that would be initiated through an ‘intermediary company” from Dubai. Ekosem-Agrar in Germany is the holding company of Russia-based Ekoniva, which produces milk and agricultural seeds.
Danone declined to comment when contacted by Just Food, while neither Ekoniva nor Ekosem-Agrar replied to a request for comment.
Announcing the Russia exit plan in October, Danone said it would lose around €1bn ($1.1bn today) from the sale but expected to retain a presence in the country for specialised nutrition products. The company operates more than a dozen factories in Russia.
No update on Danone’s business in Russia was provided in its 2022 annual report. The country accounted for around 5% of the group’s revenues in 2021.