Moscow-based Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods (WBD) has announced the acquisition of 75.075% of the share capital of the Kharkovsky Dairy Plant (KDP), one of Ukraine's largest specialised dairy processing facilities.

The transaction is worth about US$4.5m, and brings WBD's stable of enterprises to 18.

Maxim Byrdin, Head of WBD Dairy Business Unit, commented: "We have big hopes for our new acquisition. KDP is a strong player on the Ukrainian market, with a stable supply of raw materials, significant market share and well-known brands. We are especially enthusiastic about the level of expertise and commitment shown by the staff, professional dairymen, who, amongst other things, produce one of Ukraine's best-known cottage cheeses "Domashny".

"Given our good track record of integrating such entities into our network and adding their products to our portfolio, I am convinced that we can strengthen our presence on this strategic market."

Built in 1973, the  in Kharkov, Ukraine-based plant's planned milk processing capacity is 500 tons per day. It presently manufactures over 60 types of dairy products, including UHT-milk, butter, chocolate butter, pasteurized milk, kefir, bio-kefirs, yogurts, bio-yogurts, sour cream, ryazhenka, melted milk, cottage cheese, quarks, 'Tanyusha' quark desserts with fruit, 'Mashenka' quark cream and casein.

All KDP products have been manufactured under the ROMOL brand since 2001. The plant manufactures around 2,500 tons of dairy products per month, 1,800 tons of which are whole-milk products.

KDP's share of the Ukrainian dairy market is about 8.7% according to Amer Nielsen data covering four of Ukraine's largest cities (Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Dnepropetrovsk) from February to May 2002. The plants sells 70% of its products in Kharkov, where it has a 24% market share. It has been envisaged that the new equipment will be implemented at the Kharkovsky plant in the H1 2003. Brands popular among Ukrainian consumers, such as Slovyanochka, Domik v Derevne, Frugurt, Doctor Bifi, Biomax, and Chudo, will also be launched shortly.