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Rediff News  All News  » Business » German baby food-maker plans giant steps in India

German baby food-maker plans giant steps in India

April 08, 2008 02:29 IST

Germany-based Humana Milchunion eG, one of the largest baby food products and therapeutic multivitamins manufacturers, will soon foray into India and neighbouring markets in a big way.


Humana belongs to the Humana Milchunion group of firms in Europe. It also will invest over €2 million in Magna-K-Labs and also pick up about 50 per cent stake


Humana plans to open over 200 multivitamin and baby food stores within 2-3 years in India, in a joint venture with the Mumbai-based drug manufacturer Khandelwal Laboratories (K-Labs) and consumer product exporter Magna Industries.


The company, with a turnover of $5 billion, belongs to the Humana Milchunion group of companies, a dairy cooperative with more than 6,000 milk suppliers in Europe.


Its therapeutic and baby products such as food, water and instant cereals are sold in over 48 countries and enjoys a big brand equity in Europe, the US and other markets.


The 58-year-old dairy major, based out of Herford in Germany, has subsidiaries in Italy, Spain and Portugal and sales offices in various countries, sources told Business Standard.


"Humana will invest over €2 million (Rs 12.5 crore) initially in Magna-K-Labs and pick up about 50 per cent stake," said Satish Bhangar, managing director of the recently floated joint venture Magna-K-Labs.


Magna and K-Labs

have signed a memorandum of understanding with Humana and plans to make India a hub for its foray into Asian and the West Asian markets as well.


Initially, the JV will import about 60 products from Germany and within six months, manufacture the products at K-Lab's existing manufacturing facilities in Uttaranchal. The JV will target Rs 50 crore turnover in the first year of operations.


Each of the 1,000 -2,000 sq ft store under the Humana brand will cost Rs 1 crore. It will stock about 500 products from the Humana stable. About 20 stores were likely to come up within a year, said Bhangar.


"Many of their muti-vitamin products based on effervescent technology (when the tablet is put into water, it turns as an energy drink) are classified as drugs in India. If the government brings in rules to market such products as over-the-counter products, our stores could offer many revolutionary vitamin products to Indian customers," said Sanjeev Khandelwal, chairman and managing director of K-Labs.


The joint venture will also mark the entry of cancer and critical care drug manufacturer K-Labs into the field of nutraceuticals and health products.


The JV will also make available the raw materials required for gene repair therapy (GRT), a nano tech-based treatment process for cancers and life threatening diseases, developed by K-Lab's group company Virtuos Innovations, according to its Chief Executive Officer V K Thripathi.


P B Jayakumar