Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever has today (29 April) announced its intention to buy Baltimor Holding, the parent of Russian ketchup maker Baltimor.

The acquisition follows Unilever's purchase of Russian ice cream business Inmarko last year and plans to build a state-of-the-art food production facility in Tula.

Unilever said the acquisition will further strengthen its existing dressings portfolio and competitive position in Russia, one of its priority countries.

"Russia is a key market for Unilever, and we believe that the acquisition of Baltimor, which is already a strong ketchup brand in the region, will strengthen our position further," said Vindi Banga, Unilever's president of foods and home & personal care.

"Our world-class research and development expertise and knowledge of the foods business coupled with Baltimor's local strengths, can significantly enhance our position in the Russian ketchup and dressings market."

The acquisition includes a ketchup, mayonnaise and tomato paste business under the Baltimor, Pomo d' Oro and Vostochniy Gourmand brands - accounting for annual turnover of around EUR70m (US$92m) - and a production facility at Kolpino, near St. Petersburg.

However, the deal excludes Baltimor's branded vegetables, condiment, preserve and juices business and production facilities at Krasnodar and Khabarovsk.

The acquisition consideration has been made on a cash and debt-free basis and is not material to Unilever overall, the company said.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.