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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Unilever Scoops Out $140M For Largest Ice Cream Plant

Unilever plans to spend $140 million on building Russia’s largest ice cream factory to tap the country’s increasing appetite for frozen desserts, a company executive said Thursday.

The plant is expected to produce its first ice cream at the start of 2011, Antoine de Saint-Affrique, executive vice president of Unilever’s central and eastern European businesses, told reporters at the building site in the Tula region. De Saint-Affrique said the facility will be Russia’s biggest factory dedicated to making the frozen food.

The plant will be Unilever’s eighth production facility in Russia. Unilever, which sells ice cream under such brand names as Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s, and which rivals Nestle and Kraft Inc., have said they’ll increase spending and will look for acquisitions in the country, where a decade of economic growth has spurred consumer spending.

“The potential for growth is enormous here,” said De Saint-Affrique. Russia is “a key strategy priority” for Unilever, as it has “been raising market share” and will “continue to do so,” he said.

Unilever, based in Rotterdam and London, last year bought Inmarko, the country’s biggest ice cream maker, with a market share of at least 16 percent. Inmarko, the maker of Magnate and San Cremo ice cream, runs three factories in Novosibirsk, Omsk and one in Tula, according to its web site.

“We are extremely active in this country,” De Saint- Affrique said. “We’ll always look at opportunities on the market. Provided there is a good strategy that fits with ours and a normal price,” Unilever will make an acquisition.