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GfK Group expands into the Baltic region

Acquisition and new company established in Latvia 

Nuremberg, September 29, 2006 – In mid August, the GfK Group acquired a majority stake in Latvian market research institute, InMind of Riga, which will operate under the name GfK Custom Research Baltic in future. June also saw the establishment of Riga-based GfK Marketing Services Baltic. The new companies in Latvia will coordinate all Baltic projects. This development will enable GfK to consolidate its leading role in Central and Eastern Europe.

GfK Custom Research Baltic, Custom Research business

On August 17, the GfK Group acquired a 51% holding in Latvian market research institute, InMind of Riga, a company established in 2003. The fourth largest Latvian company in the sector, which will operate under the name GfK Custom Research Baltic in future, offers custom research and consultancy services, in particular for the financial, telecommunications, retail, media and health sectors. Major clients include Hansabanka, Laima, Aldaris, Latvijas Balzâms and Latfood. GfK Custom Research Baltic also carries out EU-financed projects for the Latvian Ministry of Social Affairs.

Petra Heinlein, the GfK Group Board Member responsible for Custom Research, says: "The new Baltic branch closes the final gap in our Central and East European operations, where up to now, we have not been present under our own name. This strengthens the leading position as a market research services provider which we have acquired since the opening up of the East European markets."

The company, which presently employs a staff of 16, is predicted to record sales of half a million euros in the current financial year. The Managing Director is Iluta Skrûzkalne, who previously managed the company.

GfK Marketing Services Baltic, Retail and Technology business

GfK has been supplying retail information on technical consumer goods in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania since 2005 through its Swedish subsidiary, GfK Sverige. Now the new branch of GfK Marketing Services in Riga, a subsidiary in which the GfK Group has a 95% stake, will take over these services. Major clients of GfK Marketing Services Baltic include Sony, Philips, Canon and Electrolux.

Dr. Gérard Hermet, the GfK Group Board Member responsible for Retail and Technology, explains: "The Baltic States are among the burgeoning young markets and naturally, they are of interest to our clients. Consequently, we have already been active here for some time through our subsidiaries in the neighboring countries, and this has enabled us to supply our clients with market data. As a global market leader in the supply of market data for the technical consumer goods market, we are pursuing a clear target: to be present in all major markets, and in the Baltic region, with the new company, we have certainly achieved this.”

The Managing Director of GfK Marketing Services Balitc is Ingemar Erlandsson.

GfK activities in Central and Eastern Europe

GfK has been active in Central and Eastern Europe for 17 years. The company even opened its first offices in the region in Hungary as early as 1989, before the fall of the Iron Curtain. Today, GfK is enjoying dynamic growth and supplying every business sector in a total of 18 countries in the region with information and consultancy services. In the first half of the year, GfK recorded sales totalling EUR 29.3 million. This corresponds to growth of just under 30% compared with the same period the previous year. With a network coordinated by FESSEL-GfK in Austria, GfK is the undisputed market leader in Central and Eastern Europe.

The GfK Group

The GfK Group is the No. 4 market research organization worldwide. Its activities cover five business divisions, Custom Research, Retail and Technology, Consumer Tracking, Media and HealthCare. Together with the former NOP World companies consolidated since June 1, 2005, the GfK Group achieved sales EUR 937.3 million for financial year 2005.

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