Fazer eyeing new plant in Russia

Fazer eyeing new plant in Russia

Fazer Group is looking to build a new bakery plant in the Russian city of St Petersburg.

The Finland-based company has four bakeries in the country but Fazer president and CEO Christoph Vitzthum said the business is looking to "enlarge our footprint".

A spokesperson confirmed the group's existing sites would continue to run at present levels. "Our existing facilities will currently continue to operate at the same levels as now," the spokesperson told just-food today (16 June).

In a statement, Fazer said it is "considering" a plant to manufacture frozen bakery goods, with the "potential expansion" into fresh products.

Fazer has signed an "agreement of intent" with Georgy Poltavchenko, the Governor of St Petersburg. It said the "approximate project timeline is ten years from 2016".

"Bread has been changing rapidly from a commodity category towards a category with an increasing number of innovations in products and technologies. Fazer is not only following consumer demand, but also setting new trends for bread consumption. The new plant will enable us to implement recipes that appeal to consumers, helping us to grow the category with our customers and improving the efficiency of our operations", Vladimir Kalyavin, the managing director of Fazer's business in Russia, said.

The company described 2015 as "a challenging year" in Russia, pointed to the weakened rouble and "turbulent" economic situation. However, Fazer insisted its business in Russia "developed well in local currency" its bakery business saw "very strong" growth in net sales.

Fazer, which sells bakery and confectionery products in Russia said its net sales in the country amounted to EUR189m (US$211m), constituting 12% of group sales.