Russian watchdog to approve $3.8-bn PepsiCo-WBD deal

The Russian antitrust regulator Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is likely to clear the way for global food and beverages giant PepsiCo's $3.8-billion acquisition of the country's largest dairy products and juice maker Wimm-Bill-Dann (WBD), RIA Novosti reported yesterday. 

"We are favourably disposed to the deal. There are no problems with it," Igor Artemyev, head of FAS said.

Yesterday WBD also announced the acquisition of Kungur Dairy Plant in Perm region. The plant is the region's leading dairy producer and is recognised as one of Russia's most technologically advanced dairy facilities. The transaction is subject to preliminary approval by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service.

The WBD deal is PepsiCo's largest acquisition outside the US, and is in line with the company's strategy of creating a $30-billion nutrition business by 2020. Through the acquisition, PepsiCo aims to become Russia's largest the food and beverages maker, and also expand into the lucrative markets of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

According to FAS data, WBD's market share in dairy products is approximately 30 per cent, close to the 35 per cent threshold of market monopolization set by the watchdog.

At the same time, the company holds a 40-45 per cent share of the beverage market, Artemyev said.