Agrokor bought up a 55.6 per cent share in the previously state-owned Frikom in February last year, giving it majority ownership of its two domestic divisions which are involved in both the production of ice cream and frozen vegetables. At the time Frikom was having financial difficulties and the deal meant that Agrokor took on an estimated €12 million in debt.
Despite the debts, Frikom was in an improved business position after a series of investments from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) had secured €13.1 million loan to improve the company's existing production facilities and improving its distribution network.
Agrokor says that the money will be invested to help it further increase both the production capacity at Frikom as well as further extending its distribution. Ultimately the goal is to turn Frikom into the largest ice cream producer in Serbia.
The acquisition is the first significant cross-border investment of a Croatian food company in Serbia and Montenegro in recent times, and indicates an important step in supporting the reintegration of economies in this region.
Currently the Serbian ice cream sector is still relatively undeveloped, but with the help of financing from institutions such as the EBRD it is expected that more consolidation will occur in the coming years and that the sector will begin to expand rapidly.