Speaking to ConfectioneryNews.com Stuart Anderson, managing director at Macintyre, said that the venture would lead to greater shared knowledge on aspects such as technology and manufacturing - although the two companies will operate exclusively within their own distribution regions, designing, manufacturing and marketing their products separately.
"Although we operate in a highly competitive market with a number of Europe-wide competitors, the acquisition of Petzholdt-Heidenauer will continue our ambition to consolidate our position across the global cocoa bean processing market," he said.
The agreement will allow the company to offer an extended equipment line-up to chocolate manufacturers requiring bean processing solutions. Currently the company provides equipment lines for small, medium and large-sized firms, including Masterfoods' confectionery subsidiary, Mars.
German-based Petzholdt-Heidenauer will supply products ranging from roasting and winnowing equipment to refiners and conches, while MacIntyre Chocolate Systems will produce a line of machines including tempering equipment, moulding and enrobing plants, as well as lentil and bar forming plants.
According to Anderson, Macintyre's main competitors in the cocoa bean processing equipment sector are from the EU, including the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark and France.
But despite continuing price skirmishes in the global cocoa market, Anderson dismissed suggestions that the processing equipment sector was facing an uphill struggle.
Leading Swiss chocolate supplier Barry Callebaut disagrees, however, reporting recently that low cocoa prices have prompted it to cut back operations at its processing division. The firm, which operates globally, processes 520,000 tonnes of cocoa a year - a sixth of the world's annual cocoa production.
Earlier this month, political instability in Ivory Coast - which produces 40 per cent of the global cocoa crop - prompted fears that cocoa prices would escalate, although cocoa has recently been at a record low, after surplus production diluted the market.
According to the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO), the predicted cocoa crop for 2003-2004 is 3.31 million tons, with total use standing at 3.17 million tons.