Food Union ACQUIRES NORWAY’S THIRD LARGEST ICE CREAM PRODUCER
Latvia’s largest dairy company and the leading ice cream producer in the Baltic countries, Food Union, has signed an agreement on the acquisition of the third largest ice cream producer in Norway, Isbjørn Is, consolidating its presence and position on the ice cream market in the Nordic countries as per the strategic development plan of Food Union Group. At the moment, Food Union group already includes six companies: Rīgas Piena Kombināts, Rīgas Piensaimnieks and Valmieras Piens in Latvia, Premia in Estonia, Premier Is in Denmark, and Isbjørn Is in Norway.
“Isbjørn Is is a traditional ice cream producer in Norway with ice cream making traditions spanning more than 50 years, its product brands are highly popular in Norway. The strategy of Food Union is to develop through investments in strong local brands, be it in Latvia, Estonia, Denmark or Norway. We see potential in further growth of Isbjørn Is in Norway, and that is what we will be working on,” explains Food Union founder and owner Andrey Beskhmelnitsky.
Isbjørn Is makes and distributes various ice cream and frozen dessert products throughout Norway, with the focus on direct selling, as well as in grocery stores across the country.
“Food Union is an owner we have been looking for, one that can take our business to a new level. We are very pleased to have found an investor that considers ice cream production a priority and knows the market well. We are confident that there is positive development ahead of us, based on our staff and business that have been developing for more than 50 years,” notes Bjørn Eirik Lohne, the head of Isbjørn Is business and the son of Bjørn Lohne – the man who founded the company in 1962.
“The agreement on acquisition of Isbjørn Is has been signed and the deal will be finalized in the coming months. After that, the company will be expanded to make production more efficient and unite production with the warehouses and offices. Production expansion will be completed by the end of 2016, while customers may expect the first improvements in the company’s range of products by the next summer season,” adds Normunds Staņēvičs, Chairman of the Board at AS Rīgas Piena Kombināts (Food Union).
Isbjørn Is is the third largest ice cream maker in Norway. The company is located in Askøy near Bergen, it was founded in 1962. Isbjørn Is turnover last year amounted to EUR 17.5 million (NOK 165 million). Until now, the company belonged to four brothers, sons of the company founder Bjørn Lohne. Upon signing the acquisition agreement, Food Union has become 100% owner of Isbjørn Is. The amount of the transaction will not be disclosed.