Daily Israel Report

Protesters Continue Tnuva Dairy Boycott Despite Price Drop

Social protesters say they'll continue boycotting the Tnuva dairy giant despite a 15 % price drop and the resignation of its chairwoman.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 10/2/2011, 1:59 PM

Strauss Milky products
Strauss Milky products
Strauss

Dairy giant is facing more financial woes despite the resignation of its chairwoman and a decision to drop its prices by 15 percent.

Tel Aviv student union chairman Uri Reshtik announced Sunday that social protests against the company would continue, because “the consumer protest is aimed at Tnuva, not at just one person.”

Reshtik noted that the boycott has been effective, but in an interview with Voice of Israel government radio, he said the company “could do more.” Students in Be'er Sheva have likewise been organizing protests against the Tnuva dairy.

The resignation of Zehavit Cohen, announced earlier in the day, came in response to an investigation into the company by the Antitrust Authority, which she said she needed time to focus on. Cohen will retain her position on the company's Board of Directors, however, and as manager of Apax Partners in Israel – the group that owns Tnuva.

Dozens of Tnuva products are expected to hit the shelves at reduced prices beginning Tuesday – but a spokesman for the company said the decrease follows a drop in the price of milk, and not in response to the boycott. Meanwhile, the Strauss, Tara and Yotvata dairy companies have been making gains against the dairy giant as a result.  

Supermarkets in the southern region have reduced their stocks on Tnuva products, since they are not being sold, and instead are increasing stocks from other, smaller companies which until this point had little chance against the massive competition of the dairy giant -- but which are now rapidly becoming more popular.

The Antitrust Authority concluded last week that although Tnuva provided information in response to its initial request, it had withheld some information. As a result, investigators raided the company's offices one week ago, confiscating documents and questioning senior executives under caution.

Mivtach Shamir Holdings informed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) last week that Apax Partners had made a Nis 710 million offer to take over its shares in Tnuva Food Industries. According to Globes, Mivtach was asking NIS 775 million.

A court hearing was held last Sunday to force Tnuva to open its books to Mivtach over the objections of Apax. Two months ago, a deal with Leumi Partners Ltd. collapsed.