Orkla strengthens its presence in the Russian chocolate market

05.04.2006: The Norwegian listed company Orkla has signed an agreement of buying more than 75 percent of the shares in CJSC Krupskaya Confectionery Company, a Russian chocolate company with a market leading position in St. Petersburg and northwest Russia.

The company posted operating revenues of USD 50 million in 2005. Krupskaya has about 1 000 employees.
In 2005, Orkla acquired the Russian chocolate company SladCo, which has strong positions in several market segments for chocolate and confectionery in Russia. SladCo has production plants in Yekaterinburg (Ural) and Ulyanovsk (Volga).
"This investment is in line with Orkla's strategy for growth in Russia and Ukraine. Krupskaya has been successful in a category that is important for Orkla and offers a leading market position in a region in which SladCo has no significant presence. By acquiring the company, Orkla is strengthening its position in an expansive Russian market," explains Håkon Chr. Andersen, head of Orkla Foods CIS.
"The sellers believe Orkla is the right strategic investor for the company in the future, in terms of investment, management development and brand building," comments Nina Stepanova, Chief Executive Officer of Krupskaya. The majority of shares being purchased by Orkla are held by various senior managers within the company.
With 143 million inhabitants, Russia is the largest country in Europe. The Russian grocery market is the fifth largest in Europe.

The acquisition is subject to the approval of the Board of Orkla ASA and the Russian competition authorities.
The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
About Orkla:
The Orkla Group is one of the largest companies listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, posting operating revenues of NOK 55 billion (pro forma) in 2005. The Group consists of the core areas Branded Consumer Goods, Specialty Materials and Financial Investments. Orkla is a leading supplier of branded consumer goods to Nordic food retailers, and also enjoys strong positions in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in Russia. The Group has approximately 35 000 employees.