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Wimm Bill Dann serves an ace in juice game


WBD's New York IPO attracted
remarkable liquidity

It is not every company that can use the fact that its biggest shareholder served nine years in a labour camp for "violent crime" as proof of its commitment to boosting shareholder value. Wimm Bill Dann (WBD), Russia's biggest dairy and juice producer, did just that when it raised $200 million from US investors in the middle of February.

WBD floated a quarter of its stock on the New York Stock Exchange in Russia's fourth-ever US IPO. It is the first Russian consumer goods company to float abroad - the others were all telecoms companies: VimpelCom, Rostelecom and Moscow TeleSystems.

The company was one of the first successful companies to set up after the fall of the Soviet Union and is regarded as one of Russia's best run.

Founded in 1992 to sell juice under its flagship J-7 brand, the decision to launch at that time was either foolhardy or incredibly brave.

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