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French Food Major Danone Bullish On India, Mulls Building New Plant

Currently, Danone India operates a plant in Punjab, which it had acquired in 2012 from Wockhardt

French multinational Danone is bullish on the nutrition supplement market in India and is looking at both organic and inorganic growth of its manufacturing capacity.

Currently, Danone India operates a plant in Punjab, which it had acquired in 2012 from Wockhardt along with the latter’s flagship food supplement brands of Protinex and Farex.

While, the company feels that its present manufacturing capacity is enough to cater to the demand over the next 3-4 years, the market traction being gained by Protinex would need additional creation of capacity.

“We are looking around for setting up another plant in addition to the Punjab unit, although nothing has been finalised as yet,” Danone India managing director Himanshu Bakshi told Business Standard here.

Danone had invested Rs 1,800 crore in the acquisition and upgradation of the plant, he said, adding that more investment would be pumped if needed in future.

Protinex accounts for 45% of Danone India’s business and the company is keen to expand the category with newer products and tastes.

Bakshi informed that the company exported to a few Asian countries, including Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, however, it still was a miniscule percentage of the total revenues.

“We are eyeing double digit growth in India in this fiscal,” Bakshi informed while declining to reveal the actual revenue figures.

Meanwhile, the UP market figures among the top three domestic markets for Danone and the company is expecting higher growth trajectory going forward.

Bakshi, who had taken over as Danone India managing director on April 1, said ‘Make in India’ was part of the company’s strategy for catering to the local tastes and preferences with regards to its nutrition supplements.

Meanwhile, Danone has launched its new mango flavoured Protinex variant in the UP market.

Bakshi claimed according to a study, almost 90% of the Lucknow residents suffered from protein deficiency, which was more pronounced in men due to the changing lifestyles and erratic eating patterns.

In February 2019, Danone India had introduced ProtinexLite for consumers seeking both high protein and zero sugar. Besides, the company has committed to FSSAI’s Eat Right Movement and pledged to reduce added sugar in its Protinex portfolio by 20% by 2020.

A year after exiting the dairy business in India, Danone announced an investment of about Rs 182 crore into local yogurt maker Epigamia by its investment arm. The French major had termed it as a ‘minority venture investment’ and that Epigamia would operate independently.

In 2016, Danone set up venture investment arm to support entrepreneurs in the health food space. It started its nutrition business in India in 2012.

Danone reported global sales of 24.7 billion Euros in 2018 with a presence in over 120 markets. It owns globally acknowledged brands of Aptamil, Neocate, Farex, Protinex, Dexolac and Nusobee.

Source: Business Standard

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