LAVAL, France-Lactalis Group said last month it had acquired two dairies in former Soviet bloc Moldova.

"The acquisition of these dairies will enable us to become the leader on the dairy market in Moldova," Lactalis group said in a statement.

Lactalis also took over six Foodmaster dairies, five in Kazakhstan and one in Ukraine, which together have 1,700 employees and specialize mainly in milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese production.

"This deal is the part of the company's plans to expand its activities to the market of the Commonwealth of Independent states," it added.

Lactalis gave no financial details of the deal. The French company is also established in Russia and Ukraine. Moldova, wedged between Romania and Ukraine, has some 22 dairies.