Wimm-Bill-Dann To Open Georgia Plant

Nadia Popova

The Moscow Times
Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wimm-Bill-Dann, Russia’s biggest dairy and baby food producer, will
open a plant in Tbilisi in late September, spokeswoman Marina Kagan
said Tuesday.

Wimm-Bill-Dann has invested about $500 million in modernizing the
80-ton-a-day plant, which will be the company’s 38th production site,
Kagan said at a news conference.

"We hope that our Caucasian milk, kefir, sour cream and
chocolate-glazed curd bars will help improve relations between Russia
and Georgia," she said. The company’s chairman, David Yakobashvili,
was born in Georgia.

Wimm-Bill-Dann bought the plant, the third-largest dairy producer in
Georgia, in October 2007 and has been modernizing it since then. The
plant’s products will be sold locally and exported to Azerbaijan and
Armenia. The raw milk will be purchased from Georgian farmers.

Wimm-Bill-Dann, which among other products makes Chudo brand yogurts
and J7 juices, is expecting sales volumes for its dairy products to
fall no more than 3 percent year on year in the second quarter, up
from 6 percent in the first quarter, Kagan said. "We have seen some
stabilization on the dairy market. Consumption has stopped falling,"
she added.

Vladimir Labinov, head of the Russian Dairy Union, said Tuesday
that dairy consumption rose 2.5 percent for the first half of the
year. Consumption rose 5 percent throughout 2008. "Milk is the
cheapest source of protein, so people don’t refuse buying it even
during a crisis," Labinov said.

Consumers, however, are becoming more cautious about which dairy
products they buy. "They have switched to cheaper brands and basic
products like cottage cheese and drinking milk rather than desert
yogurts," said Natalya Smirnova, a consumer analyst at UralSib.

And among the inexpensive brands, those seen as Russian-made have
an advantage during the lean times. "Our yogurt volumes are growing,
as consumers prefer Russian brands to the foreign ones and are trying
to cut their spending," Kagan said.

"This factor is more psychological, however, as foreign dairy producers
have their production sites in Russia," she said.

Danone, Ehrmann and Campina are Wimm-Bill-Dann’s major foreign
competitors on the Russian market.

Wimm-Bill-Dann’s net profit for the first quarter dropped by 70
percent to $12.6 million, which Wimm-Bill-Dann attributed to the
ruble devaluation.

The company will disclose it’s financial results for the second
quarter early next month, Kagan said.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS