US agribusiness giant Cargill has moved to expand its chocolate business in Europe through the acquisition of German chocolate maker KVB.

Cargill said today (12 January) that the acquisition of KVB, or Schwartauer Werke GmbH & Co. KG Kakao Verarbeitung Berlin, was a “significant step” in its plans to grow in Europe.

KVB has two production plants in Germany. The sites produce around 75,000 tonnes of chocolate a year and employs around 180 staff. Cargill said the facilities would “complement” its own sites in Klein Schierstedt and Hamburg.

Jos de Loor, the head of Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business, said the US firm planned to “invest significantly” in KVB’s sites “to create a superior chocolate house that will enable us to offer customers greater choice, higher quality and extended market reach”.

He added: “This acquisition marks a significant step in Cargill’s chocolate growth strategy in Europe and our ability to better serve our existing and future customers. The acquisition will strengthen Cargill’s position in Germany, the largest chocolate market in Europe, and create opportunities to expand our chocolate business into new markets.”

KVB chief executive Hermann Hauertmann insisted the sale of the business to Cargill would enable the business to continue to grow domestically and abroad.

“The global network of Cargill opens up new opportunities in terms of supply chain and optimised cost structures to the benefit of our customers,” he said.