The founder of the Belaya Dacha group, Viktor Semyonov, has confirmed his withdrawal from the project for the production of French fries in Russia. He spoke about the reasons for his decision on the air of the ČEZ program on the RBC TV channel.
Viktor Semyonov noted that he was never interested in the "potato" business, but "it was a shame to watch" how Russia buys potatoes abroad.
McDonald's was the initiator of the organization of the production of French fries and the main buyer of the products. Belaya Dacha cooperated with the company in the supply of vegetables and salads.
They tried to launch the project first in 2000 and then in 2014. In 2016, an agreement on the construction of the plant was signed. The construction partner was Lamb Weston Meijer (a joint venture between the American Lamb Weston Holdings and the Dutch Meijer Frozen Foods).
According to Semenov, the companies immediately agreed that Belaya Dacha would withdraw from the project when the production process was fully established.
In 2018, the first French fries plant was opened in Russia. Investments in the company amounted to 120 million euros. The plant could produce 100 thousand tons of finished products annually.
At the first stage, Belaya Dacha owned 75% of the business, since the foreign partner did not dare to invest the entire enterprise.
However, in October 2020 it became known that Lamb Weston Meijer will become the main owner of the plant. Viktor Semyonov sold his stake - 25,10% - to the former CEO and shareholder of Belaya Dacha, Vladimir Tsyganov.