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R&R Ice Cream pursues German private label mission

By Ben Bouckley , 05-Dec-2011

R&R Ice Cream (R&R) has expanded its European manufacturing base with the acquisition of German firm Durigon Gelato, as the company seeks to develop its private label business in the country.

The deal – for an undisclosed amount – is subject to clearance from the German Federal Cartel Office, which published a notification of the potential acquisition online last Tuesday (November 29).

Based in Schwanewede-Brundorf near Bremen, Durigon (which was family owned) employs 70 staff and had a turnover of €20m in 2010. Prior to the acquisition R&R was already the largest private label ice cream manufacturer in Germany.

Durigon produces private label and branded ice cream in tubs ranging from 200ml to five litres, as well as “other ice cream products” and sandwiches.

The company sells its Italian ice cream specialities throughout Germany as well as other EU countries, and R&R said it planned to invest in the company’s factory in Germany.

Latest acquisition

Asked whether R&R had further European acquisition plans, chairman and CEO James Lambert (pictured) told DairyReporter.com: "Yes. We're looking at one or two other businesses and we're doing due diligence on that at the moment."

Lambert said he believed there would be further opportunities for consolidation within the European dairy industry. "With all that's going on in the EU [in financial terms] support for inefficient co-operatives in likely to dry up. Going back to the politicians in Brussels for more money just won't be an option anymore."

Boosting the brand and growing the company’s sales was an “integral part” of its strategy to develop its private label business in Germany, R&R said.

Graham said that the ice cream market in Germany was fairly similar to the UK, with "perhaps a few more nutty flavours", although the market there was a bit more seasonal, with a fivefold increase in sales during a summer week as against a winter week, compared with a threefold lift in the UK.

Durigon MD Werner Durigon, who will retain his position, said: “I am pleased that our family’s and employees´ long association with Durigon will continue within the R&R group and look forward to strong future growth in our factory at Schwanewede”

R&R’s latest purchase follows it acquisition of French company Pilpa SAS last September; the company now has eight factories and expects to post a turnover in excess of €600m in 2012.

The company was formed in 2006 following a merger between UK-based Richmond Foods and Roncadin, the largest private label ice cream manufacturer in Europe.

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