Orkla Romania aims higher

Related tags European union Romania

Having recently announced that it is selling its stake in the
Carlsberg brewery, Norway's Orkla Foods is continuing its aim to
increase its presence in the Eastern European market with the
acquisition of more facilities to expand the footprint of its
Romanian division.

According to national news reports, Orkla Foods Romania signed a contract to acquire fruit and vegetable processing equipment from SC Grup JM SRL, a fruit and vegetable processor based in Targoviste, around 100km northwest of Bucharest. The company says that the sale will mean that it can now expand its production lines and ultimately increase its volumes. It also added that it was aiming to retain as many of the existing 300 workforce as possible.

Orkla Foods Romania did not divulge any of the financial details of the transaction.

Last month the company agreed that it would sell its 40 per cent stake in Carlsberg Breweries to Carlsberg AS (CAS) for NOK 17.5 billion (€2.04bn). CAS has also agreed to take over Orkla's share of the company's liabilities, bringing the total enterprise value of Orkla's interest up to NOK 22.5 billion.

Although the deal has left Orkla Foods in a bitter mood over its dealings with CAS, the company has now freed up capital which will allow it to invest in other areas of its business. The company first moved into the Romanian market in May 2002, when it bought up Topway Foods International, then the country's leading producer of margarine, ketchup and mustard.

At the time of the acquisition, Orkla said that it had ambitions to increase its presence in the Central and Eastern European food processing industry, where it already had a significant presence in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Orkla Foods Romania has subsequently developed its position in the market, with the recent acquisition expected to make a considerable impression on the results for 2004.

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