Lactalis close to Indian dairy deal - report

PARIS Thu Dec 5, 2013 5:26am EST

PARIS Dec 5 (Reuters) - Lactalis, Europe's biggest dairy group, is close to sealing a deal to buy a 70-percent stake in South Indian dairy company Tirumala Milk Products, French daily Les Echos said on Thursday.

A deal, which could be signed by the end of the month, would value the company at around 220 million euros, the French paper said, citing industry sources as well as Indian media reports.

A spokesman for Lactalis declined to comment on the report.

Founded in 1998, Hyderabad-based Tirumala Milk Products is one of the largest dairy processors in southern India.

Private equity company Carlyle, which owns a 20 percent stake, would sell its holding, the paper said.

Tirumala's four founders, who own a combined 80 percent stake, would sell 50 percent, resulting in Lactalis owning 70 percent.

Les Echos said Tirumala also attracted interest from French food group Danone. Danone could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

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