The Barry Callebaut Group has signed an agreement to acquire GKC Foods (Australia) Pty Ltd, a producer of chocolate, coatings and fillings, serving many consumer chocolate brands in Australia and New Zealand.
This strategic acquisition establishes Barry Callebaut’s direct presence and manufacturing capacity in the growing Australian market. The Group will expand its position in the industrial chocolate market with the move and will leverage its value-adding Gourmet & Specialties business in Australia and New Zealand. Barry Callebaut will continue to work with local distributors across Australia and New Zealand who have been importing and distributing its industrial and Gourmet chocolate and cocoa products to the country since the 1970s.
Australia and New Zealand have an average chocolate consumption of approximately 5 kg per capita, the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in the Asia Pacific, according to Euromonitor. In Australia, demand for chocolate has been on the rise, with the chocolate confectionery market in the country growing well above the global market, Nielsen data shows.
GKC Foods has been manufacturing “Made in Australia” chocolate and confectionery products since the 1980s. Today, the company produces a wide range of products including organic and vegan chocolate for dedicated chocolate shops, gourmet delis, specialty food outlets, and key national retailers. The company operates a chocolate factory and a warehouse in Melbourne.
Barry Callebaut’s investment involves upgrading and expanding the factory’s existing infrastructure, installing a new state-of-the-art chocolate production line, and the deployment of an integrated management system to enhance automated production. In addition, the company will employ around 50 people at the site, including GKC Foods’ existing employees, who will transfer to Barry Callebaut upon completion of the transaction.
“We strongly believe in the growth opportunities of the Australian and New Zealand chocolate confectionery markets. We already have the highest quality products today and we will further grow our competitive advantage through the acquisition of, and investment in, the best-in-class GKC Foods manufacturing facility in Australia,” said Ben De Schryver, president of Barry Callebaut in Asia Pacific.
“I am very proud of the great chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past 35 years. Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of GKC Foods and our team as part of a large, international, group. We really appreciate the business principles and the team spirit on which Barry Callebaut is based,” commented John Borell, managing director of GKC Foods.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, and is expected to complete before the end of this calendar year. The parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the acquisition.