Danone has signed a deal to buy the nutrition unit of India’s Wockhardt Group, days after reports that the companies were in talks.

The deal, announced today (2 August), will see Danone acquire Wockhardt’s nutrition business and brands as well as related industrial operations from the Indian firm’s subsidiary Carol Info Service. The transaction is valued at EUR250m (US$354.7m).

The acquisition will allow Danone to enter the baby nutrition and medical nutrition markets in India, as well as provide the company with access to a distribution network across the country.

Wockhardt’s brands include Dexolac, Farex and Nusobee baby nutrition products. In addition, the nutritional supplement brand Protinex will give Danone “a strong foundation” for developing its medical nutrition business, the French firm said.

The sale will allow Wockhardt to focus on its pharmaceutical operations, it explained. “Wockhardt continues to be on the growth track and the strategy to consolidate and rationalise all its core operations is showing encouraging results. Wockhardt is re-inventing itself by taking fundamentally strong and positive steps with a firm focus on its core human pharmaceutical business,” the Indian company said.

The closing of the transaction is subject to certain terms and conditions of the agreement.

The deal comes over a year after Wockhardt and US-based healthcare group Abbott Laboratories ended talks over the business.

In June 2009, Wockhardt agreed to sell its nutrition business to Abbott but, by April the following year, both companies had announced that talks had been called off. Reports in India said pressure from Wockhardt’s lenders had ended the deal.