The Nestlé food concern of Vevey has confirmed that it has strengthened its position as the world's second largest ice cream producer. It has increased its stake in Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream of California from 21 per cent to 24 per cent.
Nestlé has acquired 3,400,000 shares of Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream common stock from General Electric Capital Corporation, General Electric Pension Trust and General Electric Investment Private Placement Partners.
However, under agreements that do not expire until 2004, Nestlé's ownership position is limited to 25 per cent.
Dreyer's chairman T. Gary Rogers said in a statement that the company was making rapid progress towards the goal of becoming "the pre-eminent ice cream company" in the United States.
"At the same time, we remain fully committed to remaining an independent company and would stress that we have no agreement or intent to sell the company to Nestlé or any other party," he said.
Last week, Nestlé was reported to be in negotiations for the takeover of the German ice cream producer, Schöller, a subsidiary of the Südzucker group.
swissinfo with agencies