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2001, Nr. 2, S. 16 News    Nestlé acquires Ralston Purina    The Swiss food concern Nestlé of Vevey is to take over the American pet food manufacturer Ralston Purina at a cost of US $ 10.3 bn. This statement from both companies involved confirmed a report published in the Wall Street Journal of 15 January. According to the merger contract Nestlé is acquiring all the shares outstanding of Ralston Purina at a cash price of $ 33.5 per share. This offer represents a 36 per cent increase on the closing price of 12 January. Prior to the merger Nestlé's turnover in the pet food business amounted to approx. $ 3.7 bn. Last year in the USA alone Ralston Purina achieved a turnover in excess of $ 2.25 bn, and almost $ 450 mio from international sales. The Friskies business is to be amalgamated in the USA with the existing Ralston Purina organisation. This new organisation will be called Nestlé Purina Pet Care and have its headquarters at St Louis, Missouri. It is intended to complete the transaction by the end of 2001 at the latest.    Analysts are taking a positive view of the merger, since the feeling is that the two companies will complement each other well. Ralston Purina's strength lies in dry food for dogs, Friskies' in wet food for cats. By 2003 it is hoped to realise annual cost savings of $ 260 mio.       The Swiss food concern has acquired Ralston Purina for 10,3 bn. $     Up-and-coming Italian market    Pets are becoming increasingly significant in Italy, according to information from Vimax, the company that organises Zoomark. The total includes approx. 7.2 mio cats, 8.8 mio dogs, 13 mio birds, 1.8 mio rodents and 1 mio terrarium animals living in Italy. Vimax claims that the Italian industry is notching up sales growth of 12 per cent as a consequence. Estimates for 1999 put this at ITL 3 658 bn (1.88 bn euro), with pet food accounting for half of this amount, according to Vimax.     Anniversary for Zoo-Zajac    Zoo-Zajac is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The company, which started off with a pet shop of 65 m2 in the Meiderich district of Duisburg, has in the course of the years become Germany's leading aquarium mail order specialist, employing more than 100 staff. Today the company includes a retail area of 500 m2 plus 1 500 m2 of warehousing and office premises. A move to a bigger site in Meiderich is on the company's schedule.    Over the years Zoo-Zac has contributed vigorously to happenings in the pet sector, with its fairs…
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