Investment firm continues European milling market expansion

By Karen Willmer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bulgaria, Romania

Austrian investment firm Leipnik-Lundenburger Invest (LLI) said it
has successfully completed its entry into the southeastern European
milling market with the acquisitions of two bakery firms.

As of the start of July, the firm has acquired a sixty per cent stake in bakery firms Loulis in Romania and of Loulis subsidiary Sofia Mel in Bulgaria as well as a five per cent stake in the parent company Loulis Mills. This forms part of its strategy to expand across the European milling market and enter into emerging markets. The move follows Greece's Vivartia announced expansion into emerging bakery markets with its Saudi Arabian acquisition last month. Loulis currently has mills in Greece, Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. LLI expects sales in its mill and flour segment to total €668m in the current financial year, increasing to €760m when the Loulis mills are included. "The LLI currently does not intend to acquire further companies, but markets - for example theUkraine- are being analysed,"​ LLI's Michaela Stefan-Jandl told BakeryandSnacks.com. The company said milled quantity will be 2.7m tonnes in the current financial year, up from 430,000 tonnes in 2003/4, and expects this to rise to 3.3m tonnes in the next financial year following the Loulis acquisition. LLI's new holding company became active on 30 June in a bid to improve the company's efficiency, to coordinate distribution, and to make acquisitions in new countries and markets, it said. "The entry into the Romanian and Bulgarian milling markets has been a crucial step in the LLI mill group's expansionary strategy, allowing it to further strengthen its position as the number one in the European milling market,"​ the company said in its report. LLI said the three mills acquired are combined with bakeries, pasta and cornflake production facilities, and the final closing was on 6 July. The company has focused on expansion in Austria and central and Eastern Europe since 1995, with investment in its mill and flour segment in Hungary in 2000, Germany and Poland in 2004, and in the Czech Republic in 2005. LLI claims to occupy between places two and four in the worldwide ranking of mill groups as well as number one in Europe.

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