Finnish meat processor Atria has acquired the meat processing business of the PIT Produkt Group, which operates in the St. Petersburg region of Russia it said today (Thursday).

The parties have agreed not to make the purchase price public, Atria said. The PIT Produkt Group of companies consists of several subsidiaries. The turnover of the Group is expected to reach about $50m in 2006.

With the acquisition of PIT Produkt, Atria will become a leading player in the St. Petersburg area. A customer base of over five million people and the steady growth of retail sales combined with the ongoing structural change in the retail sector will help Atria establish a solid foothold in the rapidly growing Russian market.

Atria has had an eye on the Russian market for a long time due to its fast growth rate, it said. Atria has been looking for potential acquisition targets in both St. Petersburg and Moscow regions. PIT Produkt is a well-established player in its own area, and in addition to this, the company also has customers, for example, in the Moscow area. This is why the company provides an excellent window to Russia.

The companies share a common vision of the need for substantial investments in the further development of the Russian operations in order to ensure continued growth in Russia. The PIT Produkt Group was established in 1996 and since then has rapidly expanded to become the second largest meat processing company in the St. Petersburg region. The company currently operates two production plants with some 1,000 employees. Their production machinery is modern and well maintained. According to a survey commissioned by Atria, the market share of PIT Produkt is about 15-20% in the St. Petersburg region.