SWITZERLAND – Barry Callebaut has signed an agreement to acquire GKC Foods, an a privately-owned B2B chocolate manufacturer based in Australia in a deal that will give Barry Callebaut direct presence and manufacturing capacity in Australia and further expand in New Zealand.
Barry Callebaut said that the acquisition of GKC Foods will empower the group to expand its position in the industrial chocolate market and to leverage its value-adding Gourmet & Specialties business in Australia and New Zealand.
Post-acquisition the chocolate manufacturer said that it will continue to work with local distributors across Australia and New Zealand who have been importing and distributing its industrial and Gourmet chocolate and cocoa products to the country for more than four decades.
With the acquisition, Barry Callebaut is set to benefit from the countries’ high bourgeoning chocolate consumption levels. Australia and New Zealand have an average chocolate consumption of approximately 5 kilograms per capita, the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in Asia Pacific, according to Euromonitor.
In Australia, demand for chocolate has been on the rise, the chocolate confectionery market in the country grew well above the global market according to Nielsen.
GKC Foods has been manufacturing “Made in Australia” chocolate and confectionery products since the 1980s. Today, the company produces a wide range of products including organic and vegan chocolate for dedicated chocolate shops, gourmet delis, specialty food outlets, and key national retailers.
Barry Callebaut’s investment will involve upgrading and expanding the factory’s existing infrastructure, installing a new state-of-the-art chocolate production line, and the deployment of an integrated management system to enhance automated production.
In addition, the company revealed that it will employ around 50 people at the site, including GKC Foods’ existing employees, who will transfer to Barry Callebaut upon completion of the transaction.
“We strongly believe in the growth opportunities of the Australian and New Zealand chocolate confectionery markets,” Ben De Schryver, President of Barry Callebaut in Asia Pacific.
“We already have the highest quality products today and we will further grow our competitive advantage through the acquisition of, and investment in, the best-in-class GKC Foods manufacturing facility in Australia.”
“Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of GKC Foods and our team as part of a large, international, group. We really appreciate the business principles and the team spirit on which Barry Callebaut is based,” John Borell, Managing Director of GKC Foods.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions. Expected completion is before the end of this calendar year. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.