Ukrainian confectionery group, the Roshen Confectionary Corporation, has announced that is planning to invest €8m in the modernization of its caramel production facility in Lithuania.
The company said the funds will be used to install new caramel production lines, with an output of 1,290 tonnes of products per month expected as a result of updating the Klaipeda factory, which it bought in 2006.
Roshen said the work would begin at the end of 2010, with €3.3m to be invested in the initial phase, and resulting products expected to be on the European market in March 2011.
The confectionery group, which has four factories in Ukraine, a facility in Russia as well as the plant in Lithuania, is also building a second confectionery plant in Russia, with construction expected to start towards the end of this year. Roshen hopes to increase its share of the Russian confectionery market from the current three per cent to five per cent.
Earlier this week, the company, which produces around 25 per cent of all Ukrainian confectionery and has over 10,000 employees, announced a 35 per cent increase in sales for the first half of the year, compared to the same period in 2009.
The manufacturer of a range of sweets, chocolate, sugar candies, cookies, waffles, fruit jellies and cakes said that sales totalled US$ 425m during the first six months of 2010.
Roshen said that output in the period reached 184,000 tonnes, an increase of 12 per cent on the same period in 2009.
Industry analysts said that the confectionery group, appears to be rebounding strongly from what was a very challenging 2009 for Ukraine when the economy was severely hit by external shocks and exacerbated by domestic vulnerabilities.
According to Leatherhead Food International, Central and Eastern European chocolate sales rose 9.1 per cent annually between 2004 and 2008, making it the fastest growing chocolate market in the world, in contrast to the rate of increase of annual sales of chocolate in Western Europe - 2.2 per cent in dollar terms between 2004 and 2008.
And Leatherhead researcher, Chris Brockman, recently told this publication that he sees scope for acquisition opportunities within the Central and Eastern European markets, including the Baltics, citing a lot of second tier domestic confectionery firms in that geography which could provide growth opportunities for some of the multinationals.