Italian confectioner Ferrero Group has bought land in the northern Serbian municipality of Sombor for €7.95mn after announcing last year it plans to produce hazelnuts in the Balkan country, according to Serbia's privatisation agency.
Ferrero acquired agricultural land and adjacent buildings stretching over more than 699 hectares via its Serbian arm, Belgrade-based Agriser. The assets belonged to farming company Aleksa Santic, the privatisation agency said in a statement on April 20.
The agency published the invitation for the public auction of Aleksa Santic's assets in late February, with a starting price of €7.94mn.
Last year, the Serbian government said that Ferrero planned to launch its previously announced project for a hazelnut production on 1,000 hectares of land in September 2014. The government and Ferrero signed a memorandum of understanding on the investment in February 2014.
The agriculture ministry said at the time that the project would help Serbia turn into a European leader in hazelnut production within 10 years, as Ferrero would increase the area under hazelnuts to 10,000 hectares by 2020. The ministry noted that Serbia has just 1,000 hectares of land under hazelnuts and imports 90% of the hazelnuts it consumes, mainly from Turkey and Georgia.
Family-run Ferrero was founded in 1946 and has grown into an international group with commercial interests in the Americas, Australia, Asia and Africa, as well as in Western and Eastern Europe. The group’s brands Nutella, FerreroRocher, Mon Cheri, Tic Tac, Kinder Bueno, Kinder Sorpresa and Raffaello are sold all over the world.
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