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NEW DELHI : Pritannia Industries Ltd (BIL), and French cheese maker Bel SA, on Tuesday, said they entered into a joint venture agreement to offer brands, such as the latter’s The Laughing Cow cheese in India, to capitalize on the growing demand for packaged foods in India. As part of the agreement, Bel will acquire 49% of Britannia Dairy Pvt. Ltd (BDPL), with Britannia Industries owning the remaining 51% stake in the joint venture. The entity will be renamed Britannia Bel Foods Pvt. Ltd.

Cheese will be produced at the joint venture’s new facility at Ranjangaon, Maharashtra, Britannia said in a statement on Tuesday. Abhishek Sinha, chief business officer of the dairy business at Britannia, has been named CEO of the joint venture. The products will be co-branded using the trademarks “Britannia" and “The Laughing Cow".

The two companies will work towards expanding the cheese industry in the country.

“Cheese is an under-penetrated category, and this partnership will help expand the nascent but fast-growing cheese category by delivering innovative products and being a leader in fulfilling evolving consumer needs. This JV is also key to Britannia’s vision to be a responsible, total foods company," said Varun Berry, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Britannia Industries. In FY22, BDPL’s revenue stood at 340 crore. Both parties are infusing funds into the JV for business requirements. Other than that, Bel has bought stake in Britannia for 262 crore.

The board of BDPL will consist of five directors, out of which three directors will be nominated by Britannia, and two will be nominated by Bel.

Britannia already sells flavoured milk under Winkin Cow, apart from processed cheese and curd under the Dairy Fresh brand in India.

Bel 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.

For Bel, the partnership with Britannia is a new step for the group’s development in Asia, said Cécile Béliot, chief executive officer of Bel Group.

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