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Barry Callebaut ups capacity 60,000 tonnes in North America

By Oliver Nieburg , 11-Jun-2012

Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has acquired a new plant in Canada and plans to expand another facility in the US, increasing its capacity by 60,000 tonnes.

The company said the €22.5m ($27.9) investment came as a result of rising demand in North America.

Demand in North America

Raphael Wermuth, external communications manager at Barry Callebaut told ConfectioneryNews.com: “When you look at our recent figures, growth in North America was significant. That’s why we needed to expand in this region.”

In its half year results announced in April, the company saw double-digit growth in the Americas as sales volumes grew 18.6% to 176,898 tonnes and operating profit increased 19.9% in local currencies to €36.9m ($46.5). This came despite a 2% decline in the US chocolate confectionery market over the period.

Canadian plant

The company acquired the Canadian facility, located in Chatham, Ontario, from the Batory Industries Company.

Wermuth refused to disclose how much of the €22.5m overall investment in North American expansion was linked to the Canadian factory purchase, but said that Barry Callebaut had taken on 25 employees as a result of the deal.

The company plans to produce liquid chocolate and compound chocolate at the new plant.

Barry Callebaut CEO Jurgen Steinemann said: “The increase of our production capacities will support the further development of our industrial business in the region while also gaining geographic advantage with our customers by adding a key Midwest facility.”

Production will begin soon after the transaction closes in early-September, said Wermuth.

Vermont expansion

Barry Callebaut also announced that it was to up production at its core moulded chocolate facility in St Albans, Vermont, US.

“We needed to increase capacity there as demand is growing,” said Wermuth.

Barry Callebaut has invested a total of €80.4m ($99.7) on operations in North America over the last two years, following investments in Mexico and Pennsauken, New Jersey and the acquisition of gourmet products manufacturer Mona Lisa Foods.

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