Mead Johnson, the US baby-food group, has signed a deal to form a joint venture with Argentina-based dairy producer SanCor Cooperativas Unidas.

The venture, announced today (24 February), will be owned 80% by Mead Johnson and 20% by SanCor. The two firms will develop dairy nutrition technology and provide science-based infant formulas and growing-up milks for babies and children through the deal.

Working as an independent entity, it will develop and market products exclusively under the 'SanCor Bebe' brand.

"We see this as a wonderful opportunity to partner with another great brand and to bring important and beneficial nutritional products to families and healthcare professionals in Argentina and the other Southern Cone countries. This significant investment demonstrates our strong confidence in the growth potential of the Latin American market, as well as the skilled workforce in Argentina," said Steve Golsby, president and CEO of Mead Johnson.

SanCor will continue to operate its core dairy products business, while Mead Johnson will put its activities for milks through the new alliance. The joint venture does not involve any changes in SanCor's ownership; both companies will contribute to the formation of a new team to lead the new business.

The new venture will be based in Argentina, and operations are expected to start next month.