Barry Callebaut, the business-to-business chocolate maker, is investing CHF25m (US$31m) in its European production facilities.

The company plans to “strengthen” the division serving food manufacturers with new lines at its factories in Banbury in the UK and in Meulan in France.

Barry Callebaut is also looking to accelerate the expansion of its Gourmet & Specialities Products business by refurbishing its chocolate academy in Meulan and building a similar facility in the Belgiant town of Wieze. The Swiss group also plans to set up a chocolate decorations centre at its speciality and decorations plant in Zundert in the Netherlands.

Massimo Garavaglia, president of Barry Callebaut’s operations in western Europe, said: “With the planned investments, we will not only strengthen our industrial footprint in Western Europe, the company’s largest business region, but also invest in our network of chocolate academies to support the further growth of our gourmet business.”

A spokesman added that the upgrades are necessary because the business has grown year-on-year and capacity has to increase accordingly. The investments are not expected to lead to significant job creation and the spokesman would not say how much capacity at the facilities would increase as a result.

In July Barry Callebaut, which manufactures chocolate for Hershey, Kraft and Nestle, sold its European consumer business Stollwerck to privately-owned Dutch firm Baronie Group.

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