The company will build a factory at Marsden, Park Sydney that will serve its Lindt cafés in Australia.
“It’s not only a plant. It’s also for warehousing and our Australian headquarters will be moving to this building in January 2016,” Sylvia Kälin, corporate communications at Lindt told ConfectioneryNews.
Lindt expects the 20,000 sq m warehouse and 5,000 sq m manufacturing plant to be completed by October 2015.
Building up brand with downtown cafés
Lindt entered Australia in the mid-Ninties. Kälin said: “We built up a new subsidiary in Australia, but the brand was completely unknown at this time and the best way to grow this was to be very present at downtown locations with our cafés. To enhance our brand awareness we started with a concept of chocolate cafés.”
Lindt now operates four own-brand retail outlets in New South Wales and four in Victoria.
“To be even fresher, we wanted a bigger manufacturing site for the fresh truffles sold on the counter and the cakes and ice creams – we needed more space for these products,” said the Lindt spokesperson.
Lindt currently operates a production facility in Australia to serve its retail outlets, but products for the wholesale market are imported from Switzerland.
Lindt will continue to import wholesale products to Australia, but it will package some wholesale brands such as Lindor Balls at the new Sydney site.
Australia and group priorities
Subsidiary Lindt & Sprüngli Australia grew sales 8.8% in 2013 compared to the previous year driven by wholesale products Excellence, Lindor and Creation, according to Lindt’s 2013 annual report.
“It’s a very important market and our presence has been enhanced but our key markets remain North America and Europe.”
Lindt’s North America business including Ghirardelli was the largest contributor to the group’s sales in 2013 and grew double-digits. The firm recently acquired US premium chocolate business Russell Stover and leapfrogged Nestlé as the third largest confectioner in the country behind Hershey and Mars.
Lindt is also aiming to capitalize on emerging markets such as Brazil, where it recently entered a joint retail venture with CRM Group. The firm has also recently opened offices in China, Russia and South Africa.
No Australia wholesale plant planned
The company will consequently continue to import products for Australian market rather than manufacture domestically for the wholesale division.
“It’s not the moment to build up a complete Lindt factory from bean-to-bar - for the time being not a question,” said Kälin.
Australia falls within Lindt’s Rest of the World division along with other markets such as Japan and South Africa. ROW made up just 7.6% of the firm’s sales in H1 2014, which were concentrated mainly in North America.