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Chupa Chups family-ownership comes to an end

By staff reporter , 05-Jul-2006

The world's largest lollipop manufacturer, Chupa Chups SA has been sold to Italian-Dutch company, Perfetti van Melle after its failure to recover from falling sales.

According to the Financial Times, the move cost the company £400m.

In recent years, the company has suffered a drop in sales which some analysts believe can be attributed to its ambitious attempts to market the lollipop brand globally despite being a privately-owned business.

Annual sales in 2000 amounted to €450 but dropped to €264m four years later.

The firm closed plants in Brazil and China and was issued with a loan by the Catalonian government in 2003 to aid restructuring.

Based in Barcelona, family-owned Chupa Chups was established in 1940 by Spanish businessman, Enric Bernat, whose son Xabier took over the running of the company two years ago.

In the past the company were well-known for their unusual marketing tactics - the most notorious being sending lollipops into space.

They also manufacture SMINT and have previously collaborated with Perfetti in marketing their products throughout Europe.

Chupa Chups and Perfetti formed their first business relationship in 1999 when they set up a joint German partnership and last year they launched the British firm, Chupa Chups Perfetti van Melle UK.

Formed in 2001, Perfetti van Melle is a merger of the Italian company Perfetti and Dutch confectioner Van Melle.

It is now the world's fourth largest confectionery company and will add Chupa Chups to its range of products which include Mentos mints and Fruitella.

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