Consumer goods giant Unilever is planning to expand in the Romanian ice cream market, with the launch of its ice cream brands and the acquisition of a local ice cream business.

Unilever revealed today (25 February) that it plans to launch its ice cream brands - including Magnum and Carte d'Or - in the Romanian market this summer. 

"Unilever's brands (not ice cream) are listed in all major retailers in Romania: Metro Group, Carrefour, Billa, Sellgros, Kaufland, Cora [and] Auchan. Unilever's ice-cream portfolio will be available nationwide this summer, under the Algida brand," a spokesperson for Unilever told just-food.

Unilever has also reached a deal to acquire the Napoca ice cream brand from Friesland Foods, pending approval from the Romanian competition authorities.

"Friesland decided to dispose of the ice cream business in Romania following a merger with Campina. Napoca currently holds the fifth position in the ice cream market…. The brand has a presence in Romania only, being sold on the market since the 1960s," the spokesperson revealed.

It is expected that the deal will close in the first half of 2009, Unilever said.

The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

"Ice cream is an important part of our global business, and we now believe the time is right to develop this business in Romania where the market size is estimated at EUR160m (US$203.45m)," said Alexandra Gatej, chairman of Unilever South Central Europe. "

"It is an area where we have a great deal of experience and expertise in product innovation as well as product sales, and it will be a valuable addition to our existing businesses. This decision, an important long-term investment for us, underlines our continuing commitment to this region," he added.