Barry Callebaut confirms deal for Russian confectionery business

The Barry Callebaut Group has continued its programme of expansion with acquisition of Inforum, a Russian-based major brand chocolate producer.

According to the Swiss-headquartered global manufacturer, its latest move will strengthen its presence in the region and increase its production capacity in an area of comparative high growth. The company added it would also enable it to further expand its gourmet and specialities businesses in CIS countries.

Confirmation of the company’s latest deal follows its acquisition of manufacturing facilities from Burton’s Biscuits in the UK, and a major multi-million dollar expansion of production sites in the US and Canada.

The company’s latest purchase, Inforum, was founded in 1989 by four entrepreneurs, including Evgeny Bulytov. The business started its business selling cocoa products, with sales revenue in 2017 was about RUB 5.1 billion (CHF 86 million / EUR 77 million). It operates a production site in Kasimov, Ryazan Oblast (285 km southeast of Moscow) and employs more than 300 people, who will transfer to Barry Callebaut upon completion of the transaction.

After importing industrial and speciality chocolates to Russia since the late 1990’s, Barry Callebaut built a chocolate manufacturing plant in Chekhov, Moscow Oblast (60 km south of Moscow), which became operational in 2007, and also has a chocolate academy training centre  in Moscow. The company presently employs around 80 people in Russia.

As the business explained, Russia is a traditional chocolate market and has a consumption of 4.8 kg per capita according to Euromonitor. Growth rates in volume terms are significantly above the global chocolate confectionery market according to research firm Nielsen.

Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said: “We are delighted to join forces with such an established, locally engrained Russian company. Inforum’s heritage and local knowledge, combined with our innovation capabilities and international experience, will reinforce each other’s strengths. Together, we will be able to bring further excellence and innovation to the market and to serve Russian consumer chocolate manufacturers even better.”

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