German chocolate company Stollwerck is to be taken over by Barry Callebaut of Switzerland.

Barry Callebaut has received approval from competition authorities to buy Stollwerck for SFr256m (US$169.9m), after announcing late April that it intended to do so. The deal brings brands such as Alpia, Gubor and Sarotti into the Barry Callebaut fold and gives it a stronger presence in Germany, where Stollwerck generates some 60% of its sales, reported Dow Jones.

Barry Callebaut will take a SFr80m charge related to the acquisition, but annual synergies are pegged at SFr32m.

The deal gives Barry Callebaut the 96.1% of Stollwerck currently held by Van Houten Beteiligungs AG, and it plans to buy out the remaining small stockholders.

Stollwerck posted net profits of €15.8m (US$15.3m) in 2000 on sales of €716.8m. Barry Callebaut had a net profit of SFr97.1m in its fiscal year ended 31 August 2001, on sales of SFR2.5bn.

Callebaut is one of the world's largest cocoa users, processing around 14% of the global cocoa harvest.