Leaf International moves into Eastern Europe

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

The Dutch confectionery producer Leaf International recently
announced that production has started at its newly-built plant
in Levice, Slovakia.

The factory, which cost around €30m, will supply sweets to the Scandinavian, Dutch, French and UK markets. The move demonstrates that yet another confectionery company is anxious to grab a foothold in the booming Eastern European market, as manufacturers can make huge profits with lower production costs. Leaf International decided to extend its manufacturing capabilities in 2005 to support its growth ambitions, Peter Obdeijn, country director of Leaf Slovakia, said in an interview with ConfectineryNews.com. The company chose Slovakia due to the attractive labour market and competitive salaries, he added. Production at the plant started this spring, and the company hopes to soon increase the workforce from 200 employees to 250. In January 2006 Leaf UK, a subsidiary of Leaf International, moved production of Chewitts to Eastern Europe from Merseyside, despite protests from workers and the Transport and General Workers Union. In 2005, Kraft​ closed the Terry's chocolate factory in York, and relocated production of brands such as Terry's Chocolate Orange to Poland. Also in search of lower overheads, Masterfoods' relocated Twix and Starburst factories from Slough to the Czech Republic, and Kraft switched production from Norway to Lithuania. Leaf International is a pan European sugar confectionary company with its headquarters in the Netherlands. It is a leader in the sugar confectionery market and occupies number 1 and 2 positions in its core markets. Leaf operates 14 production units throughout Europe and exports its products to over 50 countries, the company claims.

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