Cargill moves to acquire Singapore’s Aalst Chocolate business

A key strategic Asian investment has been made by Cargill with an acquisition of Aalst Chocolate Pte, a Singapore-based chocolate manufacturer, writes Neill Barston.

The move is set to significantly expand the company’s presence in the region, adding to its existing portfolio of cocoa-linked products that have become well established.

As Cargill noted, Aalst’s extensive customer base includes over 50 countries, exporting to industrial, retail and foodservice clients in key markets such as India, China, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Korea and Japan.

Its comprehensive series of products features six distinct brands, with offerings that include both bake-stable and artisan chocolates and compounds, in addition to a range of premium retail chocolate products and luxury pralines.

Following the acquisition, the company is gearing up to start its first Asian chocolate manufacturing operations in India this month, producing chocolate and chocolate compounds for the domestic market.

The move for Aalst follows a number of developments for the company in recent years, including having opened its first  Asian cocoa processing facility in Gresik, Indonesia in 2014, and subsequently launched new Gerkens cocoa powders for the region in 2016.

“The rapidly growing Asian marketplace is increasingly wielding its influence around the globe, sparking inspiration and driving international trends,” said Francesca Kleemans, managing director for Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific. “Joining with Aalst strengthens our position in this critical region, enabling us to become the supplier-of-choice for industrial and foodservice customers. With an expanded selection of value-added and specialty chocolate products and deep technical expertise, together we can accelerate innovation, better helping customers create products that continue to surprise and delight.”

According to Cargill, the partnership will leverage their collective strengths, bringing customers increased security of a reliable supply of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, better product sensory experience with their combined R&D competencies, and through the Cargill Cocoa Promise, access to a robust sourcing network that aims to ensure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come.

Upon completion of the transaction, all Aalst assets, including its state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Singapore, R&D capabilities in Singapore and Shanghai, and its over 200 employees across the region, will join Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate Asia-Pacific operations. The island state’s strong supply chain infrastructure and extensive international trade agreements, remain home to Cargill’s strategic regional business hub.

“Singapore and made-in-Singapore products are both highly regarded and reputed for meeting stringent world-class standards. We are proud of Aalst Chocolate’s heritage as a Singapore company with a renowned presence of over 18 years in Asia’s chocolate industry.

“Together with Cargill’s global expertise and experience, we believe that this new venture will be well-positioned to harness the full potential of exciting synergetic growth possibilities and become an ideal integrated chocolate solution provider for our customers,” added Richard Lee, Founder & CEO of Aalst Chocolate Pte.



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