Swiss chocolate group Barry Callebaut is to acquire Spanish chocolate maker Chocovic.

Callebaut today (4 November) signed an agreement with the Nederland Group to acquire Chocovic, a company specialising in chocolate and specialty products for industrial and artisanal customers.

The deal, Callebaut said, will strengthen its position with industrial and artisanal customers in Spain. It also underscores the company's strategic intention to further expand its core business with industrial and artisanal customers as well as its geographic presence.

"With our reconfirmed focus on our core activities with industrial and artisanal customers we now fully concentrate on expanding our existing business," said Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut. "The acquisition of Chocovic is an excellent, future-oriented opportunity for us: Chocovic will strengthen our position in Spain, it is a perfect complement to our existing offering, and we will use it especially as a platform to further build our Gourmet business."

The current owners of Chocovic will retain ownership of the other activities of the Nederland Group, which include Moner Cocoa and Nederland (cocoa processing).

Chocovic makes around 30,000 tonnes of chocolate and specialty products per year, with annual sales of approximately EUR60m (US$88.5m) and employs about 120 people. Brand names include Chocovic and Novacrem.

Callebaut said it will retain Chocovic´s commercial names and current network.

A representative of Chocovic shareholders, said: "We feel proud of our management teams strong commitment throughout these years. Their dedication and know-how was key in positioning Chocovic as one of Spain's premier manufacturers of quality industrial and gourmet couvertures."

The transaction is subject to the approval of the competition authorities and it is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.

No financial details of the transaction were disclosed.