VILNIUS - Cilija, operator of the largest pizza chain in the Baltics, has announced plans to enter the catering markets of Estonia and Romania. The announcement comes after managers expressed the company's intentions to move into the Ukrainian and Polish markets.
Asta Cepiene, Cilija expansion and development manager, said the company would set up subsidiaries in those countries, although it might opt for franchising arrangements.
"We first choose the countries with the best outlook for our business," Cepiene said.
The company intends to open two Cili pizza houses in Kiev - the first one would open this September, while the second would follow shortly after. In Poland, a Cili Pica restaurant would be opened in September as well.
Detailed plans for opening restaurants in Estonia and Romania have not yet been disclosed.
The Cili chain's vision is to become the largest and most popular public catering franchise in Europe.
The company also announced plans to expand its Latvian operations to the provinces, and that it has begun negotiations over franchising its business.
Inese Viscocka, marketing director of Cilija Pizza, which operates the company's subsidiary in Latvia, said that expansion via franchise partners would strengthen the company's position not only in Riga, but also in other parts of the country.
She could not specify how many pizzerias would be opened, saying it depended on the willingness of local businesses. At present, the Cili Pica network in Latvia consists of 10 pizzerias, including seven in Riga. Two of the pizzerias outside the Latvian capital already operate on franchise terms.
Cilija has 34 pizzerias, restaurants and cafes across Lithuania. Last year the company generated 3 million lats (4.3 million euros) in sales, up 1.6 times from 2004, and earnings grew 44.5 percent to 46,100 lats.