Danone settled in Russia in 1992, where it opened an exclusive flagship store located at the heart of Moscow, on Tverskaya street, close to the Red Square. It was one of the first foreign companies to invest in the Russian economy, at a time of democratic transition characterized by high volatility. Three years later, Danone built its first Russian factory in Togliatti, where the first product produced was the yogurt "Danone fruit".
Danone’s biggest plant worldwide was opened in Chekhov in 2000: $ 45 million were invested, its production capacity is of over 290,000T / year.
Over the years, Danone developed its product portfolio in Russia by launching other brands: Danissimo (1997), Activia and Rastishka (2001), Actimel (2002), Danakor (2007). The acquisition of Numico in 2007 enabled Danone to commercialize Baby Nutrition and Medical Nutrition products (under the brand Nutricia, established in Russia since 1994). In 2010, Danone took control of the Russian dairy giant Unimilk, making its biggest investment in the past three years. Danone is today the largest dairy producer in Russia.
With a growth of over +5% like-for-like in 2014, business in Russia held steady this year – despite a context of high inflation in the prices of milk (+30% in 2013, over +10% in 2014). The growth of the business remains supported by continued portfolio enhancement achieved through higher prices and a positive mix effect.
Danone sources and produces locally in Russia, and has a portfolio of strong local brands (> 80% of the portfolio) which generated strong growth this year: Prostokvashino grew by +19%, Tëma by +29% and Danissimo by +18%. Among 2014’s innovations we can mention Activia Bilayer, Tëma Biolact, Activia Superfruits and Actimel Kids. In 2014, Danone also enhanced and optimized its platform in the country and continued to strengthen its upstream activities by developing its supply with local farmers and authorities.
This project supports the creation of a demo-farm providing ground training and a strong agronomic training to increase Russian farmers’ long term productivity and ensure a high quality of milk supply for Danone in Russia and Unimilk.
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