Ulker makes Turkish delight out of Godiva

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Godiva

The Campbell Soup Company is set to sell its luxury chocolate brand
Godiva to the Turkey-based Yildiz, parent company of confectionery
and snack firm Ulker, for $850m (€580m).

Campbell president Douglas Conant said that the sale price represented the "strength of the Godiva business",​ which currently has annual sales of approximately $500m (€341m). The announcement ends several months of speculation over the future of Godiva chocolates, as Campbell first announced its desire to sell in August this year, claiming that chocolate products do not fit in with the company's new focus on soup-based snacks, ready meals and vegetable beverages. Campbell's Soup operates worldwide with annual revenues of around $7.3bn (€5.3bn) but earlier this year the Godiva business pulled operating earnings for the third quarter in 2007 down €4m. Ulker, on the other hand, is eager to add the chocolate brand to its current range of biscuit, snack and confectionery products as soon as the regulatory approvals are met in the coming months. "The agreement allows Ulker to expand and diversify its portfolio with an elite, global luxury brand,"​ said Campbell president and chief executive officer Douglas Conant. Ulker had sales of $7.4bn (€5m) last year and recently claimed a 57 per cent share of the Turkish chocolate market. Indeed, Ulker hopes that the move will increase the company's influence not only in Turkey, but also throughout the world. "We value the fact that a company as specialized as Godiva in chocolate manufacturing and marketing business, is now acquired by a Turkish company,"​ said Ülker Biscuit-Chocolate-Cake group president Ali Ülker. "Ülker has once again demonstrated its leading role in becoming a global player." ​The Godiva chocolate company was first established in Belgium in 1926, and was purchased by the Campbell Soup Company in 1974. Today, the firm manufactures chocolate in Belgium and the US, and sells its products all over the world through its own boutiques, franchised shops, posh department stores and over the internet.

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