Stollwerck sale still on the cards, claims Barry Callebaut

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Barry callebaut, Brand

Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut is still aiming to dispose of its consumer confectionery unit, Stollwerck, but such a divesture is not urgent, according to the chairman of the board of the industrial chocolate supplier.

Chairman Andreas Jacobs told German daily Handelsblatt ​that Callebaut is seeking a strategic buyer for Stollwerck that “will bring the company forward. But we are not in a hurry. We want to dispose of the business because we are present in the consumer sector in only one country and that is not enough.”

"We also want to be an outsourcing partner for the large brands and so cannot at the same time compete with our customers with Stollwerck,”​ he added.

The Swiss group, which produces chocolate for other brand manufacturers, has taken a strategic decision to exit the consumer sector and focus on its core, higher margin, industrial business.

A plan by Barry Callebaut to sell the division, including the Alprose and Sarotti brands, to Spanish group Natra in exchange for a 45-49 per cent minority stake fell through in September 2009. The company has previously indicated that a sale of Stollwerck could be possible in 2010.

Ildikó Szalai, packaged food analyst at Euromonitor​told ConfectioneryNews.com that it was difficult to see the advantages a buy out of Stollwerck would generate for the larger brand owners in the sector:

"Given Stollwerck assets and operations are strongly concentrated on mature developed markets and large proportion of its current operation is in lower margin contract manufacturing​, it is unlikely that any of the leading confectionery players, with strong brand focused confectionery strategies, would invest a high amount in these assets,” ​she observed.

Barry Callebaut’s acquisition of Stollwerck assets in 2002 served to boost its contract manufacturing capabilities in Europe.

Over half of the division’s sales is generated from private label, contract manufacturing. The branded portfolio consists of Sarotti, Jacques and Alprose, all present only in single domestic markets, and they jointly generated some US$150m retail value sales in 2009.

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