Belgian investor Verlinvest has upped its stake in ethical chocolate manufacturer Tony’s Chocolonely.

The private-equity firm, the investment vehicle of the de Spoelberch family, increased its holding in the Netherlands-based chocolate business as part of a €20m ($21.8m) funding round from existing shareholders.

The amount Verlinvest – which was already Tony’s largest shareholder – invested is unknown but its total shareholding has now increased from 43.1% to 55.9%. Its percentage of voting shares has increased from 50.1% to 64.2%.

As part of the funding deal Jam Jar, the investment company run by the founders of UK beverage brand Innocent, has upped its shareholding from 4.1% to 4.9%.

As part of this round, some existing investors sold a percentage of their stake.

Genuine Chocolate, the holding company of former Tony’s CEO Henk Jan Beltman, has seen its stake decrease from 26.5% to 17.9% while other investors now hold a 21.3% shareholding, down from 26.3%.

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Commenting on the transaction, which is subject to competition authority approval in the Netherlands, Tony’s Chocolonely executive Douglas Lamont, said: “This investment will help us accelerate our progress towards our mission of ending exploitation in the cocoa industry. The funding will be used to support the rapid global growth we are delivering in both Tony’s Chocolonely, our chocolate business, and Tony’s Open Chain, our global business-to-business ethical bean trading company.

“I am delighted that all the funding was raised from within our existing shareholder base, who we know are all committed to supporting our long-term mission.”

Tony’s Chocolonely was founded in 2005 by three Dutch TV journalists concerned about chocolate manufacturers buying cocoa from plantations that used child labour and modern slavery.

Just Food has asked Verlinvest to comment on its stake-building in Tony’s Chocolonely.