Nestle and R&R complete Froneri ice cream joint venture

Ibrahim Najafi, former CEO of R&R Ice Cream
Ibrahim Najafi, former CEO of R&R Ice Cream
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Food giant Nestle and Yorkshire’s R&R Ice Cream have completed a transaction to create their new Froneri ice cream and frozen food joint venture.

The 50/50 joint venture announced in April will combine Nestle and R&R ice cream businesses across Europe, the Middle East, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the Philippines and South Africa.

“With sales of around 2.6 billion euros (£2.27 billion), Froneri will operate in 22 countries across the world, employing around 15,000 people,” Froneri said on its website.

It 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.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

In a statement, Froneri said: “Froneri will build on the success of Nestlé’s strong brands and experience in ‘out of home distribution’ and R&R’s competitive manufacturing performance and significant presence in retail.

“Froneri’s leadership team combines industry expertise and business acumen from across Nestlé and R&R. The company’s board of directors is chaired by Luis Cantarell, Nestlé’s executive vice president, Europe, Middle East and North Africa and its CEO is Ibrahim Najafi, formerly CEO of R&R.”

The agreement followed months of formal talks between Nestle and R&R’s owner, PAI Partners.

R&R can trace its roots back to 1932 when an enterprising young Italian, Regina Roncadin, opened her first ice cream parlour in Germany .

In 1970 her nephew established Roncadin’s ice cream parlours across the country.

In Yorkshire, farmer Jonathan Ropner and businessman James Lambert formed Richmond Ice Cream in 1985.

Richmond Foods merged with Roncadin in 2006 and R&R was born. R&R currently employs 800 people at its headquarters in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire.

Speaking in April, Mr Najafi, said: “This is great news for us. It’s something that we’ve been working on ever since our first deal with Nestle back in 2001, when we had an agreement with them in the UK.

“We’ve been partners with Nestle, we know Nestle very well so we’ve been working really hard on this one for a while.

“I feel thrilled about it, Nestle’s a great company and a great partner.”

The venture followed a portfolio review aimed at improving Nestle’s performance, which has been weakened by slowing emerging markets, a change in consumer tastes toward fresher foods, and heightened competition.

Mr Najafi said that the skills of the people at both businesses complemented one another and that the brands fit “like a glove to a hand”.