R&Rs business includes manufacturing ice cream for companies including Mondelez International

R&R's business includes manufacturing ice cream for companies including Mondelez International

Nestle and R&R Ice Cream today (5 October) confirmed they are in talks over a possible international frozen food and ice cream venture.

The "advanced discussions" centre on a transaction that would see Nestle combine its ice cream businesses in Europe, Egypt, the Philippines, Brazil and Argentina, as well as the bulk of its frozen food operations in Europe, with R&R.

The 50/50 venture would not include all of Nestle's ice cream businesses. The US, for example, is not part of the talks. The food giant also said its European frozen pizza unit would not be part of the venture.

UK-based R&R, which is owned by private-equity firm PAI Partners, manufactures branded and retailer private-label ice cream and operates in Europe, South Africa and Australia.

"Combining the capabilities of our two companies in this way would offer an exciting opportunity for future growth in a dynamic category," Nestle CEO Paul Bulcke said.

The companies said the venture would combine Nestle’s "strong and successful brands and experience in out-of-home distribution with R&R’s competitive manufacturing model and significant presence in retail".

Ibrahim Najafi, R&R's chief executive, said: "The vision of the proposed joint venture is to grow a unique consumer and customer focused ice cream business serving all channels, delivering innovative, high quality ice cream through investment in people, process and products."

While a deal has not been finalised, the companies did indicate the venture could be put in place next year once the talks have been completed, consultation with staff carried out and regulatory approval obtained.

Najafi would become the venture's CEO, with Luis Cantarell, executive vice president for Nestle's operations in Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, its chairman.