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New Delhi: Packaged foods company Britannia Industries Limited on Tuesday said it has entered into a joint venture agreement with French cheese maker Bel SA and its wholly owned subsidiary Britannia Dairy Private Limited (BDPL) to develop, manufacture, market and sell cheese products in India and certain other countries.

France-based Bel S.A. sells cheese under brands such as The Laughing Cow, Boursin and Kiri etc. Bel produces more than thirty local and international brands that are sold in more than 130 countries around the globe.

As part of the agreement, Britannia Industries Ltd., will hold 51% stake in BDPL, while Bel will hold a 49% stake in the company. BDPL is currently engaged in the cheese business which includes the marketing, trading and selling, etc. of cheese products. For Bel, the cost of acquisition stood at 206.5 crore for its stake in BDPL while for Britannia Industries it stood at 214.9 crores, according to regulatory filings.

“As a part of the JVA, Britannia shall sell and transfer 49% of its equity stake in its wholly owned subsidiary, BDPL, to Bel in accordance with the terms of the share Purchase Agreement entered between Britannia and Bel, on 29th November 2022. Consequently, Bel shall become the legal and beneficial owner of 49% of the entire issued, subscribed and paid‐up equity share capital of BDPL and the balance 51% shall continue to be held by Britannia. BDPL will become a Joint Venture Company of Britannia and Bel in India which will carry out and undertake the cheese business in the territory," it said in a filing to the exchanges.

In FY22, BDPL’s turnover stood at 340 crores.

To be sure, Britannia already sells flavored milk beverages under Winkin Cow, apart from processed cheese, and curd under the Dairy Fresh brand in India.

Meanwhile, Britannia has been increasing its focus in an already competitive diary market in India. In its FY22 annual report the company said it has invested in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Ranjangaon as part of its efforts to build back-end capabilities in dairy.

The facility has the infrastructure to function as a multi category dairy plant with capabilities ranging from yogurt, ghee, cheddar, processed cheese, skimmed milk powder etc, it said.

In its filing the company said that the board of BDPL will consist of five directors out of which three directors will be nominated by Britannia and two directors will be nominated by Bel. “The JVA does not have a defined term. There is, however, a lock‐in period of 20 years from its effective date for both parties," it added.

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