By D. Alexaki
High annual losses and melting domestic consumption were cited by ice cream-maker Froneri Hellas this week as the reasons behind a decision to close its production unit in south-central Athens (Tavros district).
The decision is effective immediately, and comes roughly a year after Nestle Greece split off its ice cream division and handed operations to Froneri Hellas, a subsidiary of Froneri International Plc., a consortium owned by Nestle and R&R Ice Cream.
The first results published by Froneri Hellas, which were released recently, showed losses of 8.9 million euros between August and December 2016.
The development comes in light of an overall decline in the ice cream market in Greece over recent years, which analysts say has decreased by 27 to 30 percent between 2010 and 2016, and by 26 percent in value over the 2012-2016 period.
Nestle’s subsidiary in Greece alone posted losses of roughly 87 million euros between 2006 and 2016, following its purchase of local dairy producer Delta in 2006.
On its part, Froneri said it will continue to supply its products to the Greek market. Some 102 workers out of a total of 207 on its payroll, as of Dec. 31, 2016, are affected, with the company promising to extend a voluntary retirement package – beyond the legal severance pay – paying for retraining and covering private health insurance premiums for laid off workers and their beneficiaries for two years.
The announcement came a day before Elais-Unilever, a major food processor in the country, said it was selling off its olive oil and margarine production units and brands (Altis) in Greece.