Lotte Confectionary: in talks to buy German Stollwerck?

Seoul / KR. (div) Lotte Confectionary Co. Ltd., the Korean-Japanese Lotte Group´s subsidiary specializing in confectionery, is in talks to buy German chocolate company Stollwerck, the «Mainichi Daily News» reports. Aiming to expand its business to Europe, Lotte Holdings is negotiating to acquire the German chocolate company through a joint company to be set up with Spanish food maker Natra S.A.. The German confectionary is owned by Barry Callebaut AG, the world largest Swiss chocolate company. Stollwerck produces private-brand products for department stores and supermarkets in European countries. The Swiss parent company, however, is now focusing on its main business of producing ingredients for other chocolate companies, and has been looking for a buyer of the subsidiary. In the talks, the Swiss company will partly capitalize the joint company formed by Lotte and Natra, and provide chocolate ingredients, including cacao beans, giving Lotte a stable supply. Global consumption of chocolate is increasing, especially in Asia and Eastern Europe. However, procurement of cacao beans, mostly imported from politically-unstable African nations, has been one of the key problems for chocolate makers. In June 2008 Lotte Confectionary bought Chocolaterie Guylian NV, headquartered in Sint-Niklaas (BE). Guylian is one of the world´s leading brands of premium Belgian boxed chocolates. Stollwerck, established 1839 in Cologne (DE), is a subsidiary of Barry Callebaut since 2002.

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About: Lotte Confectionary Co. Ltd. is a member of Lotte Group, the fifth largest diversified business group in Korea. Originally established as a confectionery company in Japan, Lotte has currently 44 subsidiaries with total group assets of 31 billion EUR and net revenue of 23 billion EUR in 2007.

About: Natra S.A., listed on the Spanish stock market, is a reference company in production and manufacturing of cocoa and chocolate products. Natra produces over 175 different brands, including private label brands and its own brands, which are sold in over 60 countries worldwide, especially in Europe. The company has five production centers in Spain, Belgium and France and it also has commercial offices in the United States and China.

About: Barry Callebaut AG is the world´s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 26 countries, operates about 40 production facilities and employs around 7’000 people.

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