German chocolate maker Ritter Sport has announced plans to open a factory in Moscow by the end of the year.

The new plant, which will be run as joint venture between Ritter Sport and Russian chocolate maker Korkunov, will form part of Ritter Sport's plans to expand in Eastern Europe.

Expansion abroad helped boost Ritter Sport's 2002 sales to €247m (US$275.4m), a 5% increase from the previous year.

Ritter Sport also plans to strengthen its position in the domestic market by increasing its product range and attracting new groups of consumers, reported the German News Digest.