Wimm-Bill-Dann, the Russian dairy and fruit juice group, has extended its presence in the juice sector with the acquisition of Depsona, a fruit juice and concentrate producer based in the city of Tula.
The acquisition cost WBD some $3.4 million (€3.5m), and has taken the number of production facilities operated by WBD in Russia to 20.
WBD has traditionally been strong in the Moscow region where it is based, but the acquisition of Depsona will also give it a major foothold in Central Russia. In particular, the acquisition will allow it to benefit from locally grown raw materials which will help it to optimise costs.
With the Russian juice market becoming increasingly competitive, this is an important element of WBD's efforts to improve its position, the company said.
The Depsona production facility has a juice production capacity of 32 million litres per year (currently around 15,000 tons of juice and about 1,500 tons of apple concentrate are produced annually) and employs over 100 people. Depsona has a share of approximately 1.2 per cent of the Russian juice market and a strong consumer base in Central Russia, the Far East and the Black Sea coast. The Depsona brand was named 'Brand of the Year' in Russia in 1999.
Dmitry Kolokatov, head of Wimm-Bill-Dann's juice division, stressed the importance of the latest acquisition: "Wimm-Bill-Dann and Depsona have a long history of working together. The factory is strategically positioned with easy access to large reserves of high-quality local raw materials, which will allow us to reduce our dependence on imported juice concentrates. Depsona is a good fit with our juice business as a whole, and a strong player in key regional markets."
Depsona manufactures a wide range of juices, nectars, juice-containing drinks, as well as juice purees and concentrates, which retail under the Depsona, FructoPak and Limbo brand names. WBD said that it would keep the existing brand names and distribution channels, although it would also increase capacity at the plant to allow it to produce its own products there, as well as experimenting with new products and new packaging formats.