Chocolate sales rocket in Romania

Related tags Cent Fudge Chocolate Nestlé Romania

The dynamic performance of the Romanian chocolate sector continues
to gather pace with the announcement from Supreme Chocolat that it
has increased its sales in the first quarter by an impressive 120
per cent.

The company said that the increase arose by the successful introduction of a series of new product launches, complimenting equally effective marketing campaigns for its Primola and Novatini brands. The company's advertising budget more than doubled to €8 million last year - a figure that is expected to be sustained in 2004.

The last quarter saw the launch of children's chocolate bar Primola Zoo, as well as the company's entry into the chocolate dragees segment, with the Rondo brand. Further launches are planned for the rest of the year, with the company planning to enter the pralines segment. Once the more substantial portfolio is better established, the company says that it will then start planning exports to neighbouring countries for the start of next year.

According to AC Nielsen, the Primola and Novatini brands command 14.6 per cent and 6.5 per cent of the €90 million annual chocolate market in Romania. Currently the market is led by chocolate tablets, which account for 70 per cent of the market, bars amounting to 20 per cent and pralines with a 10 per cent share.

In 2002 the market for chocolate in Romania stagnated, but in 2003 it showed strong growth, with sales in the tablet segment increasing by 20 - 25 per cent. So far this year that growth appears to have been emulated by all the leading players, with Nestle reporting a quarterly sales increase of 33 per cent and Heidi Romania reporting a 20 per cent increase for the same period. Leading player Kraft is also expected to announce strong results for its chocolate sales in the coming weeks, despite coming under pressure from threatened plant closures.

There has been one victim though. Excelent, which is currently the second biggest chocolate maker in Romania, announced that its first quarter net profit was down 31 per cent on the same quarter to the previous year and that sales had dropped by 1.4 per cent. The company is undergoing a merger with Kandia, a move which will make it the leading chocolate player on the market. But having already spent €14.5 million to develop the Kandia brand, the costs of the merger and the strain on the company's resources are taking their toll, to the advantage of the other players on the market.

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