Danone announced today that it will start a joint-venture with Chiquita Brands International, Inc. to market fruit-based drinks, based on Chiquita’s Just Fruit in a Bottle® platform, in Europe. The joint venture will provide Danone with a platform to explore and develop fruit-based products, adding to its existing portfolio of healthy fresh dairy products and extending its potential for growth in Europe.
Under the terms of the joint-venture agreement, Danone will pay an undisclosed amount in cash to Chiquita for a 51 percent interest in - and management control over - the joint-venture. Chiquita will license its trademark to the new entity. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the first half of 2010.
Over the last four years, Chiquita’s Just Fruit in a Bottle® product has become one of the leading fruit smoothie brands in Europe with distribution in 12 countries, generating approx € 20 mln sales in 2009. The new joint-venture, which will be headquartered in Paris, will be the exclusive distributor of Chiquita Just Fruit in a Bottle® and all future Chiquita branded beverage products in Europe. The joint-venture combines Danone’s world-class nutritional research and development capabilities as well as its complementary geographical presence with Chiquita’s brand equity and local sales and supply chain expertise to extend Just Fruit in a Bottle® more efficiently and effectively.
Bernard Hours, co-Chief Operating Officer of Danone, commented: “We are excited to partner with Chiquita in providing consumers with healthy, fruit-based, fresh products. The combination of Danone’s leading European footprint of healthy products, together with Chiquita’s operational expertise in fruit-based drinks creates exciting long-term growth opportunities.”
“Chiquita’s partnership with Danone leverages both firms complementary strengths and will enable us to expand Just Fruit in a Bottle much faster and efficiently across Europe.” said Fernando Aguirre, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Chiquita.
About Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products – from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of $3.5 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 21,000 people and has operations in nearly 80 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit http://www.chiquitabrands.com/.
Danone is a Fortune 500 company and one of the most successful healthy food companies in the world. Its mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible. Fulfilling this mission is a major contributor to Danone’s continuous rapid growth. Danone, with 160 plants and around 80,000 employees, has a presence in all five continents and over 120 countries. In 2009, Danone recorded € 15 billion in sales. Danone enjoys leading positions on healthy food in four businesses: fresh dairy products (n°1 worldwide), water (n° 2 on the packaged water market), baby nutrition (n°2 worldwide) and medical nutrition. Listed on Euronext Paris, Danone is also ranked among the main indexes of social responsibility: Dow Jones Sustainability Index Stoxx and World, ASPI Eurozone and Ethibel Sustainability index.