Barry Callebaut, the business-to-business chocolate behemoth, has snapped up GKC Foods a contract and private-label manufacturer of chocolate based in Australia.

The Swiss giant, the world’s largest B2B supplier of chocolate and cocoa ingredients, has acquired a business manufacturing ingredients and producing chocolate for retailers including Woolworths and Coles, Australia’s two largest food retailers. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Barry Callebaut operates ten chocolate and cocoa factories in Asia, with sites in China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.  It recently announced the groundbreaking of a new chocolate factory in India which is expected to be ready later this year.

In the last 12 months, Barry Callebaut has also expanded its sales operations in Indonesia and the Philippines, in addition to its existing offices in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

“We strongly believe in the growth opportunities of the Australian and New Zealand chocolate confectionery markets,” Ben De Schryver, the president of Barry Callebaut’s operations in Asia Pacific, said. “We already have the highest quality products today and we will further grow our competitive advantage through the acquisition of, and investment in, the best-in-class GKC Foods manufacturing facility in Australia.”

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Barry Callebaut said the transaction will involve the company “upgrading and expanding” the GKC Foods’ site, installing a chocolate production line and the deployment of a management system to “enhance automated production”. The company will employ around 50 people at the site, including GKC Foods’ existing employees, who will transfer to Barry Callebaut upon completion of the transaction.

John Borell, the managing director of GKC Foods, said: “I am very proud of the great chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past 35 years. Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of GKC Foods and our team as part of a large, international, group.”