Barry Callebaut has today (3 March) signalled its desire to focus on business-to-business chocolate with a deal to transfer its consumer chocolate division to Spain's Natra.

The Swiss firm said the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval, would allow it to concentrate on its "core" business with industrial and artisanal customers.

Callebaut will also take a minority stake in Natra, which looks set to boost its private-label chocolate business in Europe by taking on Stollwerck.

The addition of Stollwerck will create a company with annual sales of around EUR850m (US$1.07bn) on a  pro forma basis. The combined businesses would have around 2% of the European cocoa and chocolate market and an pro forma output of 215,000 tonnes.

Under the deal, Callebaut also plans to supply a minimum of 85,000 tonnes of liquid chocolate to Natra per year.

A further stipulation of the deal would be that Natra reduced its stake in Spanish food ingredients business Natraceutical to below 50%.

Final details of the transaction have yet to be signed, including long-term financing, and the deal still needs approval from the boards of both companies.