MALAYSIA – Swiss-headquartered global chocolate and cocoa group has augmented its focus on the Asia-Pacific region with a new Asia Pacific Business Excellence Centre (APAC BEC) in Petaling Jaya.

Barry Callebaut’s facility is expected to serve as a center of excellence, providing a focal point across its financial and accounting services, information management and technology, customer service, and corporate and shared service functions.

With the new facility, which stands as the company’s third site in Malaysia, the company noted a further prime driver to enhance its customer services through delivering optimization and automation solutions, with the new location anticipated to offer a strong hub for the business.

The new APAC BEC in Malaysia cements Barry Callebaut’s long-term commitment to the region, with a number of significant investments done over the last few decades in Malaysia.

According to the group, an investment of approximately RM1.3 billion (US$0.3bn) has been made in Malaysia since 1990. The investment has aided in up-scaling exports of its produced goods to about 80%, which go to 57 countries.

Managing Director of Barry Callebaut in Malaysia, Robert Kotuszewski elaborated that Malaysia is an important hub for Asia Pacific thanks to its solid manufacturing base, cultural diversity, and multilingual talents who can help our customers and employees connect across markets in the region.

From manufacturing and research to the development of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products, the company highlighted it is providing end-to-end capabilities in the region.

This encompasses a cocoa sourcing and logistics center, two cocoa and chocolate application labs, a cocoa R&D center, and its cocoa and chocolate factories.

Christiana Wijaya, manager of corporate communications at Barry Callebaut Asia Pacific, underscored that the group should support its expansive business growth with a strong hub that will focus on improving processes and efficiencies.

The Malaysian operations began with a 60% stake in Kuala Lumpur Kepong Cocoa Products Sdn Bhd (KLK Cocoa), a subsidiary of Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (a Malaysia-based multinational company involved in plantations, manufacturing, retailing, and property development) in 2008, according to the company.

At the time of acquisition, as stated by Confectionery Production media, the business was regarded as one of Asia Pacific’s leading cocoa and chocolate manufacturers. It gave Barry Callebaut a notable regional foothold in the chocolate confectionery segment.

After the acquisition, KLK Cocoa changed its name to Barry Callebaut Malaysia Sdn Bhd, following the acquisition of Petra Foods’ Cocoa Ingredients Division in 2012 and the integration of its cocoa factory in Pasir Gudang into its existing company.

Both its manufacturing location in Port Klang, and Pasir Gudang, Johor, house a research and development laboratory.

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