THIS is a critical period for the South African dairy industry, as the sector’s two biggest players and former partners go head-to-head in a battle for market share.Clover was undoubtedly the happier partner when it stepped away from a 15-year supply agreement with global dairy market giant Danone in 2013, able to finally complete its own line-up of brands, but Danone is looking at the African continent with renewed purpose that will bring the two companies into direct competition.Danone’s focus on the four major geographical regions in Africa may come with deep pockets Clover can only dream about, but on its home turf, Clover’s well-established brands should allow it to keep increasing its market share, even as Danone — which boasts just more than a quarter of the world’s fresh dairy market by sales volumes in more than 130 territories — ramps up the products it offers in Southern Africa.Clover CEO Johann Vorster has had to retreat from attempts to break into African markets such a...

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