Barry Callebaut has sold its Stollwerck unit to Dutch firm Baronie Group

Barry Callebaut has sold its Stollwerck unit to Dutch firm Baronie Group

Barry Callebaut, the business-to-business chocolate maker, has sold its European consumer unit Stollwerck to privately-owned Dutch firm Baronie Group.

The Swiss company, which has sold off its consumer divisions in recent years, announced the deal today (11 July) for an undisclosed sum.

Stollwerck makes a mix of private-label and branded chocolate products. The company, based in Germany, also co-manufactures chocolate for third parties. Its brands include Sarotti and Alprose.

Barry Callebaut, which acquired Stollwerck in 2002, said the deal with Baronie includes five factories in Germany, Belgium and Switzerland. Baronie has three sites in the Netherlands and Belgium. The agreement will also see Barry Callebaut supply 25,000 tonnes of liquid chocolate a year, as well as cocoa beans and semi-finished products, to Baronie.

According to Barry Callebaut, Stollwerck's annual sales are around EUR500m (US$705.8m) and it sells over 100,000 tonnes.

Juergen Steinemann, Barry Callebaut's CEO, said the company believed it had "found a very good home" for its European consumer business.

He said: "Additionally and thanks to our long-term supply agreement, the Baronie Group and Stollwerck will become important long-term strategic partners of Barry Callebaut."

Fons Walder, owner of CEO of Belgium-based Sweet Products, the parent company of Baronie, said Stollwerck's private-label and branded businesses were "highly regarded" and claimed the deal was a "milestone in our group's history".

Walder added: "It will broaden the range of products for our customers significantly and it offers opportunities to increase our distribution network and manufacturing capacity."

The deal remains subject to anti-trust approval but Barry Callebaut said it expected the transaction would go through in the autumn.