Nestlé is to team up with Belgian chocolate maker Pierre Marcolini, the Swiss food giant announced today (13 December).

Marcolini, who has won numerous global awards for chocolate and pastry making, will "provide inspiration for future Nestlé chocolate ranges", the company said.

In turn, Nestlé said it would help Marcolini "expand his network of boutiques across the world".

James Amoroso, an industry analyst from Swiss broker Helvea, said the agreement could signal Nestlé's interest in upmarket chocolate business Godiva.

"This move clearly represents a further injection of expertise for Nestlé in terms of the development of its premium chocolate portfolio," Amoroso said.

"But it is certainly not a big roll of the dice in terms of its manufacturing or distribution footprint. Thus, what seemed superficially to be a shift away from potential interest in Godiva may now represent preparation for just such an acquisition."

Godiva owner Campbell Soup Co. is mulling the future for the business. The US food group believes does not fit with its own corporate strategy of focusing on soups, simple meals and beverages.