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UAE-based Agthia Group, a leading FMCG firm, has signed a franchise agreement with Yoplait Group of France for exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute fresh dairy products under the Yoplait brand, according to TradeArabia.com.

The manufacture and distribution will start in UAE and expand eventually in the rest of Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).

Agthia will commence manufacturing and distribution of Yoplait branded products by the end of 2011, joining Yoplait’s network of franchised partners like General Mills in the US, National Foods Ltd in Australia, Ultima Foods in Canada, and Bing Grae in Korea who have been manufacturing and distributing Yoplait branded products, the report said.

Yoplait is the number two brand world-wide in the fresh dairy product category, with a number one position in key markets like the US and Australia, and a number two position in France, Canada, Korea, and Ireland.

Through its franchise system, over the past 40 years, Yoplait has developed the brand globally with well established local partners. Yoplait branded products are currently marketed in over 75 countries.

Rashed Mubarak Al Hajeri, chairman of the Agthia Board said: “With the goal of becoming UAE’s leading food and beverage company, we believe Agthia’s entry into the dairy business category is in line with its expansion and diversification strategy.”

“We are happy to welcome the global brand of Yoplait to the Agthia Group as well as to Abu Dhabi and the region.”

Ilias Assimakopoulos, Agthia CEO, added: “Yoplait is an ideal strategic fit for our entry model into the dairy segment. Yoplait brings global brand recognition, extensive international expertise and know-how in marketing, technical and R&D areas, and continuous access to Yoplait’s network of partners all over the world.”

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