Global food giant Nestle has agreed a joint venture with British food firm R&R Ice Cream to sell ice cream and frozen food in more than 20 countries.
The 50/50 joint venture, which will be called Froneri, will be based in the UK and will combine Nestle and R&R's ice cream activities in Europe, the Middle East, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa.
Nestle's ice cream brands include Dreyer's, Haagen-Daazs and Movenpick, while R&R's include Cadbury, Oreo and Daim. The companies have worked together over the past 14 years, initially in the UK and Ireland as well as, more recently, in Australia and South Africa, where R&R licences Nestle brands.
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Froneri will also include Nestle’s European frozen food business (excluding pizza and retail frozen food in Italy), as well as its chilled dairy business in the Philippines.
Negotiations for the agreement were announced last October. Froneri will combine Nestle's brand experience and "out-of-home" distribution with R&R's competitive manufacturing model.
Nestle's milk and ice cream sales grew at 1.7 per cent last year, less than half the rate of the company as a whole during the year.
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Ibrahim Najafi, R&R's chief executive, will head Froneri, while Nestle's Luis Cantarell, who runs the food behemoths businesses in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, will be chairman.
Nestle chief executive Paul Bulcke said:
This is an exciting growth opportunity in a dynamic category. Froneri will capitalise on complementary strengths and innovation expertise, combining Nestlé’s strong and successful brands and experience in "out-of-home" distribution with R&R’s competitive manufacturing model and significant presence in retail.