Strong growth in Russia has driven the planned expansion of Fazer Group in the country, the president of the Finnish food firm told just-food today (18 March).

Karsten Slotte said the company is set to build its fifth bakery in Russia after seeing the business grow 40% a year over the past three years.

"We have seen really good growth. We have a strong brand, a strong position in St. Petersburg and we have good products - that, for me, is the winning formula in Russia," Slotte said.

Fazer plans to spend some EUR100m (US$158m) on building its fourth bakery on a greenfield site in St. Petersburg. The company already has three plants in and around the city and a fifth facility in Moscow.

The plant will produce fresh, frozen and coffee bread for the retail and foodservice channels in Russia.

Fazer generated some EUR170m in revenue from Russia in 2007, up from around EUR120m in 2006, Slotte said.

Russia accounts for around 15% of the company's group sales, which reached EUR1.2bn last year.

Fazer has links to Cloetta Fazer, the largest confectionery group in the Nordic region. Cloetta Fazer was formed in 2000, when Fazer's confectionery business was merged with Swedish candy maker Cloetta.