UK – Katjes International, a German confectionery group has increased its investment in UK sweets brand Candy Kittens in a deal that will see Katjes become the major shareholder in the company.

Founded in 2012, Candy Kittens produces a range of vegetarian and gluten-free sweets which the company says are manufactured without artificial flavours or colourings.

Katjes made its initial investment in Candy Kittens in January last year. With this recent investment, the company also has an option to acquire the rest of the business.

Commenting on the investment, Candy Kittens’ co-founder Edward Williams said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with Katjes.

“It symbolises a significant step in the Candy Kittens story, while also providing the recognition that validates the hard work and determination our team has demonstrated over the last seven years.​

“I know we have the products and brand to change the game in confectionery, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with a company that shares our vision for a more sustainable future.”​

Candy Kittens currently has presence in over 5,000 stores throughout the UK, including major supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose with sales of £10m (US$12.88m), which it hopes to grow to more than £50m (US$64m) with the help of Katjes’ investment.

Bastian Fassin, managing shareholder of Katjes International, said: “With the acquisition of the majority stake in Candy Kittens, we continue to pursue our strategy of investing in strong brands in Europe.

“With its natural and vegetarian fruit gums for adults, the company has been ahead of confectionery trends and is growing significantly faster than the market.”

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of November. Katjes said the increase in shares was financed from parts of the issue proceeds of the bond issued in April.

The acquisition represents Katjes’s continued foray into the UK market, as the confectioner also owns 3D gummy candy printing business The Magic Candy Factory and has acquired Italian business of Swedish confectionery company Cloett.