SPAIN – Italian manufacturer of branded chocolate and confectionery products manufacturer, Ferrero has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a controlling stake in Ice Cream Factory Comaker (ICFC), a Spanish ice cream manufacturer.

Ferrero said the deal is part of its commitment to satisfying consumers’ needs, while pursuing growth in new product categories.

As part of the deal, the Lamsfus family will remain shareholder of ICFC and Guillermo Lamsfus Bravo will continue to lead the business as Managing Director.

The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close by beginning of July 2019.

ICFC which is headquartered in Valencia, Spain makes ice cream cones, sticks, tubs, cakes and lollies and is present in more than 15 countries.

The firm employs over 700 people and has two production plants (in Alzira, Spain and in Castel d’Ario, Italy).

To Ferrero, which produces a range of confectionery goods as well as branded chocolate products, the deal expands its market reach into Spain.

According to reports, Spain represents around 35% of ICFC’s income, with other leading markets including UK, France, Italy, Portugal and Australia.

Ferrero, whose core brands include Nutella, Kinder Chocolate and Tic Tac recently acquired selected cookies and ice cream businesses from Kellogg in a deal worth US$1.3 billion.

The transaction also included a range of fruit and fruit-flavored snacks, pie crusts and their related companies in North America.

Last year, Ferrero agreed to acquire Nestlé’s US confectionery unit for US$2.8 billion, making it the third largest confectioner in the US.

This followed the acquisition of US manufacturer of non-chocolate confectionery, Ferrara Candy and Fannie May, a US confectioner which makes a variety of premium boxed chocolate products.

In the year ended August 2018, Ferrero posted consolidated turnover of €10.7 billion (US$11.94 billion), up 2.1% on the previous year.

In the recent past, the chocolate and confectionery industry has seen several consolidations, with The Hershey Company selling its premium snacks brand Tyrells to Intersnack Group subsidiary KP Snacks.

The deal included Tyrrells’ head office and two manufacturing sites in the UK, along with its US manufacturing capabilities, the Aroma Snacks business in Germany and Yarra Valley Snack Foods in Australia.

Hershey had acquired the premium snacks brand in December 2017 as part of a US$1.6 billion deal for its parent company Amplify Snacks Brands.