Nestlé has struck a deal to buy a majority stake in Brazil-based chocolate business Grupo CRM.
The Swiss giant, which is buying the shares from private-equity firm Advent International, said the transaction sees the KitKat maker enter Brazil’s “high-end” chocolate market.
Grupo CRM operates a direct-to-consumer model and has more than 1,000 chocolate boutiques in Brazil run under the Kopenhagen and Brasil Cacau brands.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Local newspaper Valor Economico said Nestlé will pay 4.5 billion reais ($904.1m) for the deal. Another outlet, Brazil Journal, reported the price tag to be about 3bn reais ($602.7m).
Nestlé declined to comment on how much it agreed to pay for the stake when approached by Just Food.
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The move is a “clear push into the super-premium fine chocolate segment,” a Nestle spokesperson to Just Food.
The transaction is expected to close in 2024, subject to regulatory approvals.
Nestlé’s aim with the transaction is to allow the business to grow in the high-end gifting segment. In a statement, the company said it plans to “capitalise on its global research and development capacity to help drive innovation and growth”.
Current CEO Renata Moraes Vichi will continue to lead Grupo CRM’s operations and will remain a minority shareholder.
She has been with the company for 25 years and has “built up and significantly expanded Grupo CRM”, Nestlé said in its statement.
Grupo CRM, which is only present in Brazil, has a “strong, growing online presence”, the Swiss giant added.
“This acquisition further broadens and strengthens our confectionery presence in Brazil, enabling us to enter the high-end segment. Kopenhagen and Brasil Cacau offer premium chocolates that are highly appreciated by Brazilian consumers,” Laurent Freixe, the CEO of Nestlé’s operations in Latin America, said.
“We are pleased that Renata Vichi will continue to lead the company with her deep knowledge and passion for the chocolate business, people and brands. Together, we will explore opportunities to further enhance the company’s unique premium chocolate experience.”
US-based Advent International acquired Grupo CRM three years ago.
Kopenhagen’s origins date back to 1928 and its portfolio includes brands such as Língua de Gato, Nhá Benta, Lajotinha and Chumbinho.
Last month, Nestlé announced that it is set to invest 2.7bn reais ($550.8m) into its chocolate and biscuit operations in Brazil up to 2026.
The company said the funding is triple the amount invested it had in the last four years in Brazil.
In June, Nestlé received the green light to acquire Garoto more than two decades after signing an agreement to buy the Brazilian chocolate maker.
The world’s largest food maker struck a deal to acquire Garoto in 2002 but has been awaiting full competition clearance.