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Franck Riboud, Zinédine Zidane and Muhammad Yunus in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to launch the first easily affordable dairy product of Grameen Danone Foods Social Business Enterprise

On November 7th and 8th, 2006, Franck Riboud, Zinédine Zidane and Muhammad Yunus will together officialise the start of Grameen Danone Foods. Grameen Danone Foods is a unique initiative to bring daily healthy nutrition to low income, nutritionally deprived populations in Bangladesh and alleviate poverty through the implementation of a unique proximity business model.

On November 7th, Groupe DANONE opens the doors of the international event, Danone Nations Cup to the children of Bangladesh. In 2006, 32 nations battled it out for the trophy, and more than 2.6 million children from all over the world took part in the thrilling DNC experience. This announcement is made in Dhaka by Franck Riboud, CEO of Groupe DANONE and Zinédine Zidane, the ambassador for the event, in presence of Muhammad Yunus, Managing director & Founder of Grameen Bank, Director of Grameen-Danone Food, and the Bangladeshi football authorities, during an official football game.

On November 8th, Franck Riboud, Zinédine Zidane, and Muhammad Yunus will announce the official start of the first factory, built in Bogra (150 kms North of Dhaka). The initial focus of Grameen Danone is the launch of an easily affordable dairy product. It has been specifically developed in collaboration with GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) to fulfill the nutritional needs of children in Bangladesh and to contribute to their strong growth by bringing them the benefits of milk and other micronutrients they lack.

More than one thousand livestock-farming and distribution jobs are expected to be created in the local community as a result of this first implementation. The distribution will be organised in a radius of 25kms of the plant, through Grameen ladies' network. In order to maximize the social impact of the project, Grameen and DANONE intend to reinvest the profits of Grameen Danone Foods, beyond its cost of capital, in the multi-local deployment of this unique proximity model throughout the country, with an objective of 50 plants.

Professor Muhammad Yunus, President of the Grameen Group, states, "This is a unique opportunity to create a business with a strong social aspect, a company whose ambition is not to maximize profits but rather to act in the interests of the population, but without making losses."

Franck Riboud, CEO of Groupe DANONE, says "I am utterly convinced that our future depends on our ability to explore and invent new businesses and new types of enterprise" … "a great opportunity to make progress in that direction and take another huge step towards fulfilling our mission: to bring health through food to as many people as possible."

Zinedine Zidane, states "As the sponsor of the Danone Nations Cup, I am absolutely delighted that the competition is welcoming a new country like Bangladesh, as I believe they will add to the spirit of the event. As an ambassador for DANONE's programmes for children, I am very proud of the initiative set up between DANONE and the Nobel Peace Prize winner to improve the health of Bangladesh's children."

For further information:
Corporate Communication : 33 1 44 35 20 75
GROUPE DANONE : 17, Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris – Fax 33 1 44 35 26 95