Iceland opened a franchised store in Libyas Tripoli in August last year

Iceland opened a franchised store in Libya's Tripoli in August last year

UK frozen food retailer Iceland Foods has plans to expand its presence in Libya and across the wider Middle East region.

Iceland opened a franchised store in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, in August last year. The store is a joint venture involving Libyan and Maltese entrepreneurs who approached Iceland's export business ITEX to source its products.

The store was the first dedicated to frozen food in the country, its best selling products being desserts and vegetables.

A spokesperson for Iceland told just-food today (10 May) the franchisee now plans to open around ten stores across Libya over the next five years.

Iceland's ITEX export business ships to around 30 countries worldwide but the appointment of ex-Aldi senior executive Paul Foley as international business director last year suggests the frozen food retailer is keen to further drive growth overseas.

The spokesperson said Foley, in his new role, is looking to "maximise the potential" of the Iceland brand globally, either through increasing exports, extending franchising or opening new stores.

"The Middle East is just one of many areas of interest for Iceland, but one with which we have a special connection because one of the three external investors in the management buyout last year was Landmark Group, which is based in Dubai."

Retail and hospitality group Landmark co-invested in Iceland last year as part of owner Malcolm Walker's GBP1.45bn (US$2.23bn) management buyout. Landmark co-owns 57% of Iceland with South African private-equity firm Brait and UK businessman Lord Kirkham.