July 11, 2011 - Barry Callebaut, the world's largest chocolate products maker, announced today it will sell its European consumer business Stollwerck to Belgium's Baronie Group for an undisclosed price.
The group, which makes chocolate for companies such as Nestle and Hershey , has been trying to sell the unit for some time. In 2009, a deal with Spain's Natra failed as the two companies could not agree on the valuation.
The transaction with Baronie Group also includes a non-exclusive long-term supply agreement for about 25,000 tonnes of chocolate annually that will make Baronie Group and Stollwerck strategic partners of Barry Callebaut, the group said in a statement.
"We are very satisfied that we could successfully conclude the sales process with the Baronie Group," Chief Executive Juergen Steinemann said in the statement.
"The transaction is fully in line with earlier announcements and our strategy," he said.
At 0758 GMT, Barry Callebaut shares were trading 0.2 percent lower, underperforming a 0.1 percent rise in the European food and beverage sector index, but outperforming a 0.7 percent drop in the Swiss market .
"This disposal was long awaited and we regard it as positive that Barry Callebaut is now fully focused on the industrial business," Vontobel analyst Claudia Lenz said.