Soufflet, the French commodity trading group, has bought the Ukrainian company Slavuta Maltings from Baltic Beverages Holding (BBH), the joint venture brewing group owned by Carlsberg and Scottish & Newcastle.
The price paid was not disclosed.
Soufflet said that Slavuta was the leading maltings in Ukraine with a production capacity of 70.000 tons a year, but that BBH, which acquired the company in 1999 as part of its takeover of the Slavuta brewery, did not consider it a core part of the business.
The French company, which claims to the be the biggest maltster in the world, first began expanding operations to eastern Europe in 1998. It now has 25 maltings in eight different countries: France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Russia and Kazakhstan.
The company produces a wide range of products: malt from spring and winter barley, wheat malts, kiln dried (Pilsen, Munich, Vienna) or roasted malts, roasted cereals and grits and maize flakes.
The Slavuta acquisition will take Soufflet's malting capacity to over 1.36 million tons a year.
Soufflet said it would also invest in malting barley production in Ukraine in order to ensure future supplies for the maltings. Production capcity there is expected to be increased in order to meet higher demand for malt as the Slavuta brewery, and other BBH companies, continue to expand.