• Pizza Haven to sell pies in grocers' freezers

NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia -- Commercial baker Balfours and the Pizza Haven chain are pairing up to sell frozen pizzas.

According to News.com.au, the partnership will involve Balfours making and marketing the pizzas under the "Pizza Haven Home Bake" brand.

Pizza Haven has 360 stores spread throughout Australia, Asia and New Zealand. Since its founding in 1984, the company has become a $120 million (U.S. $66 million) business.

Balfours is nearly 150 years old and one of the country's largest commercial bakeries. Its chief executive, Malcolm Gibbons, said the new business would require hiring nine new employees, and that a second shift may be required once the pizzas are established in the frozen market.

Under the new partnership, the two companies expect to sell about 2.5 million pizzas in the first year and net sales of more than $8 million.

Single-serve Pizza Haven Home Bake pizzas, retailing for about $3.50 (U.S. $1.95) will be stocked in supermarkets around Australia beginning the last week of July. Balfours' city bakery will produce four pizza varieties: the Hawaiian; meat supreme; barbecue roast chicken; and vegetarian's choice.

Pizza Haven joint managing director Evan Christou said the Australian frozen pizza market is worth almost $80 million (U.S. $44 million) annually and is growing at more than 6 percent annually.

"There is a real opportunity for Pizza Haven and Balfours to take a large slice of this business," Cristou said.

The pizzas will also be available hot from service stations, canteens and convenience stores around Australia within a month.

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