ECONOMY

Ulker launches Romanian plant, eyes EU entry

BUCHAREST (SeeNews) – Turkish food group Ulker said yesterday it had officially opened its Romanian factory, a project that would supply EU-hopeful Romania and other European countries and estimated to cost more than $23 million when finished. «Targeting the lead position in the Romanian market, we are also eager to export to most of the European markets our well-known products Biskrem, Petit Beurre, Tempo, the Clip brand of biscuits, sticks, crackers and pretzels and many other new products that we’ll launch,» Ulker Romania General Manager Ender Bolat said in a statement. «Considering the Romanian market’s growth trend and its imminent accession to the European Union, the main goal of Ulker Romania in 2006 will be to quickly develop a larger and more competitive product portfolio […],» the statement read. Romania hopes to join the EU in 2007. Ulker’s Romanian factory, located southeast of the capital Bucharest, is spread over an area of more than 20,000 square meters and has been designed to include eight production lines. Three of them are already operational and have a combined production capacity of 12,000 tons of biscuits and snacks per year. The plant employs more than 300 staff. Following a partnership deal with Germany’s investment fund Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) signed last year, Eurex Alimentare will increase its share capital by 3.8 million euros from nearly 5 million euros. Once the deal is completed, DEG will own 40 percent of the company’s shares for at least three years, after which Ulker has the option to buy them out, the statement read. Ulker claims it ranks second in the Romanian sweet biscuit market, worth an estimated 28.3 million euros. The Romanian snacks and crackers market is estimated at 21.3 million euros, the company said.