Mumbai-based Wadia group and French food major Groupe Danone are currently fighting it out in the Bombay high court with the next hearing scheduled for January 10, 2006.
However, over the years, the combine might have lost many a business opportunity, from entering the fruit juices segment, launching international food brands, to even selling beer because of a lack of consensus.
As the Wadias try to stall Danone's investment in Bangalore-based bio-nutritional company Avestha Gengraine Technologies (Avesthagen) on grounds that it violates the joint venture agreement between Wadias and Danone, it once again brings the spotlight on a rocky relationship that began formally about 11 years back.
The two companies had come together in 1995 to set up Wadia BSN, a foods company that would manufacture or distribute Danone's food brands in India.
In October 2006, Danone approached Wadia BSN with a proposal to invest in Avesthagen. As per the joint venture agreement, if either partner spotted an opportunity in the foods and beverages space in India, this opportunity was to be first presented to Wadia BSN.If either partner was unwilling to invest in the company, the other was free to do so independently, provided it did not harm the existing activities of the business.