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Food Group Announces Expansion Move In India

January 3, 1990

PARIS (AP) _ The French food group BSN SA announced Wednesday it has agreed to acquire a 50 percent interest in the Indian food concern Associated Biscuits International Ltd. for an undisclosed price.

The move is aimed at giving BSN a foothold in the Asian market and follows the French company’s recent expansion moves in Europe.

BSN said in a statement that Associated Biscuits controls 43 percent of Britannia Industries Ltd., which it described as India’s biggest food group with annual revenue equivalent to about $200 million. Britannia is also India’s largest biscuit producer, with annual production of 83,000 tons to complement the strong position of BSN in the same sector in Europe.

Additional assets of Associated Biscuits and its shareholders include a 40 percent stake in English Biscuit Manufacturers Pvt Ltd. of Pakistan and a 100 percent interest in Associated Biscuits of Malaysia.

BSN officials declined to estimate how much the French group will pay for its 50 percent stake in Associated Biscuits, beyond saying that the transaction will be based on ″market prices.″

BSN did specify, however, that J.M. Rajan Pillai will remain president and general manager of Associated Biscuits. It added that there are no plans to change the management teams at Britannia either.

BSN had consolidated revenue of 42.1 billion francs, or about $7 billion, in 1988, making it France’s biggest food group.

The group has recently been focused on expanding in Europe to prepare for the unified market planned for 1992. Among its recent acquisitions were the West German pasta maker Birkel GMBH, a 35-percent stake in Italy’s Galbani cheese and cold cuts group, Jacob’s bakery in Britain, the French biscuit group Belin, the Italian food concern Saiwa, the Spanish pasta group La Familia and the Greek brewer Henninger Hellas SA.

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