Danone, Wadia meet on ending Britannia venture

Danone, Wadia meet on ending Britannia venture
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First Published: Tue, Sep 04 2007. 02 12 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Sep 04 2007. 02 12 PM IST
New Delhi: Top executives from Wadia Group and France’s Danone met in London to work out an end to their Indian joint venture, but no agreement was reached.
“Nusli and Franck met. Very friendly discussion. Talks are progressing,” Wadia Group said in a statement issued late on 3 September, referring to Wadia Group Chairman Nusli Wadia and Danone Chairman Franck Riboud, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday.
A spokeswoman declined to elaborate further on Tuesday.
Wadia Group and Danone hold equal stakes in Britannia Industries Ltd, through their joint ownership of Associated Biscuits International.
Monday’s meeting was expected to unveil a separation plan for the Associated Biscuits venture, the newspaper said in an unsourced report. But talks were inconclusive and had been extended for another day at least and possibly a few more, it said.
The newspaper last week said the diversified Wadia Group was set to buy Danone’s stake in the venture at a discount of as much as 20% to the market price.
The Wadia Group has had a rocky relationship with Danone, having taken the French firm to court over its strategic stake in an Indian biotech firm, which Wadia said violated a non-compete clause in their joint-venture agreement.
Danone, reported to have locked horns with Wadia over the licensing of international rights to the best-selling Britannia Tiger biscuit brand, is keen to tap the growing demand for packaged foods in India.
Danone recently sold its biscuit and cereal snack unit to Kraft Foods Inc, excluding its stakes in its Indian and Latin American businesses.
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First Published: Tue, Sep 04 2007. 02 12 PM IST