The news was made public in CEMOI’s latest newsletter following a meeting with Ivory Coast Prime Minister Jeannot Kouadio-Ahoussou.
The company currently has a cocoa grind capacity at its only Ivorian factory of 70,000 tonnes. The facility in Abidjan will soon be capable of grinding 100,000 tonnes of cocoa beans as part of a US $3.7 million (2 billion FCFA) investment.
It is as yet unclear whether CEMOI plans to use the additional cocoa ground at the site for its own chocolate brands or whether it has secured an outsourcing contract to produce chocolate for another firm.
ConfectioneryNews.com contacted CEMOI for comment, but a response was not forthcoming.
Reports from Reuters suggest that CEMOI plans to start selling its own chocolate products in Ivory Coast by the end of this year,
The news agency quotes Benjamin Bessi, head of CEMOI's Ivory Coast subsidiary, as saying: “According to our studies and projections, chocolate consumption is going to develop in West Africa in the years to come, and Ivory Coast will be our base for that.”
CEMOI produces its own chocolate through brands such as Nature, but also manufactures chocolate for other companies in outsourcing contracts.
The firm notes on its website that many multinationals are concentrating on the commercial and marketing side of their businesses and selecting other manufacturers to take care of production.
These are thoughts that were echoed by John Morris, European head of consumer markets at KPMG, when he spoke to this site about the chocolate market of the future last month. (See HERE)
CEMOI produces 200,000 tonnes of chocolate per year across its 11 factories in France, Germany, Poland and the Ivory Coast.
The company employs around 3,000 people globally and has annual sales of about €750m.
Ivory Coast is the largest cocoa growing nation worldwide, but only around 35% of cocoa beans are processed with the country.
The Ivorian government is aiming to grind half of its cocoa bean produce locally by 2015. Cemoi said its investment ties in with the government’s new framework.
The Ivorian cocoa grind was put at 532,000 tonnes in 2010. With this investment, Cemoi’s activities would make up almost fifth of the total the country's grind.
Another cocoa processor, Barry Callebaut is also very active in the region. Last year it announced plans to expand capacity at its plants in the Ivory Coast to 175,000 tonnes, by building a new factory in San Pedro. (See HERE)