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November 17, 2010

UPDATE: FRANCE: Sodiaal stands firm on Yoplait stake

French co-operative dairy group Sodiaal has reiterated that it has no intention of selling any part of its 50% stake in yoghurt maker Yoplait.

French co-operative dairy group Sodiaal has reiterated that it has no intention of selling any part of its 50% stake in yoghurt maker Yoplait.

Earlier today (17 November), Lactalis said that it had submitted an offer for the entire share capital of Yoplait, in which private-equity firm PAI Partners also owns 50%.

“Our position has not changed whatsoever in the light of today’s development,” a Sodiaal spokesman told just-food this evening. “We are maintaining our stake in Yoplait at 50%,” he added.

If there is no change in Sodiaal’s position, it would effectively scupper Lactalis designs on Yoplait.

Lactalis had indicated that “the takeover can only go ahead with a majority stake in Yoplait’s share capital allowing Lactalis to pursue a long-term strategy”.

The Sodiaal spokesman said he was unaware that PAI Partners, which is looking to sell its stake, had begun the sale process for its shares. “As you can imagine, as joint shareholders we are in close contact with them on this.”

Last week, PAI’s chairman and CEO Lionel Zinsou said its stake would be put up for sale “in the coming days.”

Sodiaal has ‘first refusal’ on the PAI stake but does not intend to exercise it, the spokesman explained. “It’s not in our plans to become the sole shareholder in Yoplait’s capital.”

PAI acquired its stake in Yoplait in 2002 from Sodiaal, which was then the company’s sole owner.

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