Kalev has bought up a 60.6 per cent stake in the south Estonian bakery business Vilma. The company confirmed that it had bought the controlling stake in the small business for EEK 11.25 million (€715,000). Vilma currently has a turnover of EEK 41 million and employs 125 people.
Kalev says that the purchase is part of its strategy to expand its operations, which currently concentrate on chocolate and caramels, into the bakery sector. This is part of the company's long-term plans to expand and diversify its business and become one of the leading confectionery and bakery players in the Baltic region.
In January this year Kalev announced its first diversification from straight confectionery production when acquired Estonian biscuit maker Jarle, for which it paid EEK 12 million. At the time the company commented that this marked the start of its diversification.
Things have been looking up for Estonia's leading confectioner recently. In the first nine months of the 2003/2004 financial year, the company reported production volume up by 8 per cent to 6,000 tonnes, sales up by 23 per cent to EEK 332.4 million and profits up 22 per cent to EKK 22 million.
Meanwhile the company was also voted Estonia's most reputable business, according to an ENS ecor country-wide survey, which rates Estonian companies according to their business practices.
To top it all the company was also awarded ISO 9001:2000 certification earlier this month, in a move that is claimed will help it push exports of to markets in western Europe."The ISO certification procedure gave us the opportunity to look over and reassess all our procedures and also make some improvements," said company spokesperson Ruth Roht. "The process took a bit longer then we hoped, because Kalev built a new factory plant and moved all the production there during the last year, but now we are hoping that the award will give our clients and partners additional confidence in the company."