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French dairy giant Lactalis to spend Rs 50-60 crore per year to beef up infra facilities

Sajan C Kumar
French dairy giant Lactalis to spend Rs 50-60 cr per year to beef up infra facilities

French dairy major Lactalis, after making a mark in the Indian market with three acquisitions, will be investing Rs 50-60 crore every year to beef up the infrastructre related to procurement and processing, apart from technological upgradation.

The biggest dairy major of France had invested close to `4,000 crore in India during the last five years, including for the three acquisitions, and plans to become a pan-India player in a couple of years.

Lactalis, which has got presence in south and west India, is now looking towards north for its next footprint expansion and is scouting for acquisition for this purpose. After north India, it will eye the eastern market, in a phased manner.

Rahul Kumar, managing director, Lactalis India told FE in an exclusive interview that the company has started the process of looking for local companies in NCR region for possible acquisition. Refusing to divulge further details, he said that if everything goes well, in another two year’s time, the company will have a pan-India presence.

Terming entry into India, the world’s largest consumer of dairy products, in 2014 as a strategic move, he said the country’s market was not dependent on any external factors.

We established presence in south India with Thirumala in 2014 and with Anik buy we set up base in central India and now with Prabhat’s diary business acquisition, we expanded to west. The left over places like north and east, will be taken care of by acquiring companies in those geographies, he said.

Kumar said that the master plan of the company is to be present in all categories, goegraphies and channels, in the longer term.

Lactalis entered India in 2014 when it bought Thirumala Milk Products for around `1,700 crore. In 2016, it acquired the dairy business of Indore-based Anik Industries for `470 crore.

Recently, it announced acquisition of the milk products business of Prabhat Dairy for `1,700 crore in its third deal in the country. Thirumala, based in Chennai, has dairy products such as milk, curd, buttermilk, lassi, ghee, ice cream, paneer and butter, in its portfolio.

Lactalis is the largest dairy group in the world with a presence in more than 140 countries. With a turnover of above 20 billion, Lactalis consists of global brands such as President, Lactel and Galbani.

With 10 functional dairy plants across the country, Lactalis India handles about 1.5 million litres of milk every day with a turnover of 350 million every year. Talking about competiton in India, Kumar said rather than the cooperative sector, which is strong player in the vertical and other private sector companies, the unorganised sector is a big competitor for the company.