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Cargill’s European chocolate business has agreed to acquire Belgium-based gourmet chocolate producer Smet.
A family business founded in 1963, Smet supplies gourmet chocolates and sweet decorations to the food service and confectionery markets, with a presence in 50 countries worldwide.
As well as a global distribution network for gourmet products, Smet operates two manufacturing sites in Belgium and Poland, employing approximately 90 people.
Cargill claims that the acquisition will significantly enhance its gourmet chocolate offering, as Cargill will gain access to new decoration technology, enhanced production capabilities and a wide-ranging product portfolio.
The acquisition is subject to the approval of representative employee bodies following a consultation process, though Cargill estimates that the transaction should close in the first half of 2019.
Inge Demeyere, the managing director of Cargill’s European chocolate business, said: “The proposed acquisition emphasizes Cargill’s commitment to its customers in the gourmet segment, building on the strengths of both organisations and enhancing complementary capabilities.
“We will broaden our product portfolio and services to artisans and chocolatiers, bakery, hospitality businesses and food service industries.
“Smet enjoys great market recognition. As their brand joins Cargill’s existing brand portfolio, their unique entrepreneurial capabilities will be leveraged to allow for a dedicated focus on gourmet customers.”
“Together we intend to further strengthen our customer relationships and we look forward to continuing to serve customers’ chocolate needs, today and in the future.”
Johan Smet, CEO of Smet added: “Cargill provides us with a unique opportunity to serve our customers with a globally integrated cocoa and chocolate supply chain, a renowned sustainability approach and deep chocolate expertise.”
By Martin White
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