Natra has started operations at its plant in Canada, the company’s first facility outside of Europe.

The factory, which is in London, Ontario, currently is running hazelnut and cocoa spreads, but Natra plans to expand that lineup as they secure more customers in the region. 

The new Natra plant in Canada starts production. Photo provided by Natra.

As of right now, 14 permanent employees are working there, but Natra plans to reach 20 before the end of the year. And, the company expects to close 2015 with a staff of 56 people in the factory.

The new production facility has a total capacity of 12,000 tons, and Natra plans to use 50 percent of that it during the first two years.

Consistent with Natra’s strategic plan for 2012-2015, the company is staunchly committed to diversifying its American consumer base, shifting from Natra’s traditional private-label brands speciality to working with major chocolate companies, which will help Natra incorporate new customers in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Mikel Beitia, Natra;s ceo says that since the company started production on time at the Canada facility, they’re hoping to get the first results during the third quarter of 2014.

“Natra closed 2013 with a turnover in its cocoa and chocolate activity of 329.2 million euros, 10 percent of which came from the American market,” Beitie says. “With a direct manufacturing presence in the region and strengthened sales teams, we estimate that America will represent 15 percent of turnover in 2015.”

Along with opening this site, which is the company’s first production site outside Europe, Natra also recently expanded its commercial presence in America with the opening of a second sales office in Toronto, as part of the consumer goods division. This office currently employs a team of 11 people and is in addition to the existing one in San Diego, which specializes in cocoa derivatives.

Spanish multinational Natra specializes in chocolate products for private-label brands and other food companies, as well as cocoa derivatives.