August 3/Paris/Agence France Press -- French food conglomerate Danone agreed to buy Wockhardt's nutrition business and brands for 250 million euros ($355 million), gaining an entry into India's baby nutrition markets.

"The strong brand awareness of Wockhardt’s Dexolac, Farex and Nusobee baby nutrition products and their credibility with healthcare professionals will accelerate Danone’s entry into the country’s baby nutrition market," Danone said in a statement.

With over 25 million children born each year, India is the fastest-growing infant nutrition market in the world, noted Danone, which makes the Bebelac infant formula.

Danone, known best for its yogurt as well as Evian water, said the deal would give it access to a distribution network that stretches across India.

Despite being present in over 120 countries and generating half its sales in emerging countries, Danone has so far had little presence in India's large and fast-growing market. Its rival Nestle dominates the baby nutrition market with three-quarters of sales.

Danone said under the deal it will also acquire the nutritional supplement brand Protinex that will give it a strong foundation for developing its medical nutrition business.

An Indian-based pharmaceutical and biotechnology, Wockhardt employs 6,500 people worldwide and has 14 manufacturing plants in India, Britain, Ireland, France and the United States. 

From the August 3, 2011,Prepared Foods' Daily News.