Tnuva, Israel’s largest dairy producer, and Yoplait of France, the world’s third largest dairy concern, are postponing the implementation of their agreement to exchange know-how in production technologies. Sources at Tnuva were non-committal regarding “any further developments in respect to when the negotiations to finalise the deal will be resumed.” The negotiations between Tnuva and Yoplait started some two years ago. When the news about the anticipated cooperation between the two companies was published some four months ago (, trade sources in Tel Aviv signified the deal as “another step in the involvement of multinational companies in Israel’s food industry.”

Negotiations between the two companies were difficult from the outset. The main issue concerned the brand identity of any new products to be created by the joint venture. Yoplait wanted the new products to be marketed under its brand, whereas Tnuva insisted on maintaining its own brand, perhaps one of the most familiar and respected brands in Israel. The compromise reached was for co-branding, which led to an initial memorandum of understanding.

It was agreed that Yoplait would provide Tnuva with its know-how in the manufacture of soft cheeses, yogurts and luxury milk products, for which Tnuva would pay Yoplait royalties for the co-branded items that will be produced and marketed by both companies. As noted, the implementation of the initial deal between the two concerns has been postponed.

Tnuva, which will report 2000 sales revenues amounting to nearly US$750m, is currently engaged in reorganising its production infrastructure at a cost of US$200m. The group plans to build a super-modern dairy in the lower Galilee.

By correspondent