Barry Callebaut to buy Spanish chocolate maker
Currently owned by the Nederland Group, around 60 per cent of Chocovic’s sales are to industrial customers, and 40 per cent to artisanal or professional users such as restaurants, pastry chefs and chocolatiers. Its product and brand portfolio is “highly complementary” to Barry Callebaut’s.
Chocovic makes a total of 30,000 tonnes of chocolate and specialty products per year at its factory in Gurb, north of Barcelona. The acquisition will give Barry Callebaut its first manufacturing plant in Spain; in the past it has imported chocolate into that market from plants elsewhere. Overall, Barry Callebaut operates 40 production facilities around the world.
“It is important to be closer to the customers,” Barry Callebaut spokesperson Gaby Tschofen told FoodNavigator.com. But she added that, although Spanish customers are very important, the chocolate manufactured in Spain will not be exclusively for that market. Barry Callebaut also plans to use Chocovic as a platform to further build up its gourmet offering.
Chocovic’s main B2B brands are Chocovic and Novacrem. It also has a chocolate academy known as Aula Chocovic, which offers training to professionals and technical support to the commercial team.
Because of its strategic positioning and recognition in the Spanish market for covertures, Barry Callebaut plans to keep Chocovia’s current brand names and network.
The deal excludes other activities of the Nederland Group, such as Moner Cocoa and the cocoa processing business Nederland SA.
Barry Callebaut has taken a strategic decision to exit the consumer chocolate business and focus on its industrial operations. But a plan to sell its consumer interests, including the Alprose and Sarotti brands, to Natra in exchange for a 45-49 per cent minority stake fell through in September. This means it is still mulling ways to do this – but according to chairman Andreas Jacobs there is “no time or financial pressure”
Financial details of Chocovic acquisition have not been released, but Chocovia had annual sales of around €60m in 2008 and employs around 120 people. Barry Callebaut’s sales for 2007/8 exceeded €2.9bn (CHF4.9bn). The deal is still subject to approval by the Spanish competition authorities.
Barry Callebaut says it expects the transaction to close by the end of this calendar year.