Swiss chocolate and cocoa product manufacturer Barry Callebaut Group will acquire Inforum, a leading Russian business-to-business producer of chocolate, coatings and fillings.
The acquisition will strengthen Barry Callebaut’s presence and production capacity in the high-growth Russian market and increase market penetration in other Eurasian markets. The Russia market, the world’s second largest chocolate market in volume, grew by 9.2 percent between August 2017 and April 2018, Nielsen said.
Founded in 1989 by four entrepreneurs, Inforum generated ₽5.1 billion ($89 million) in sales revenue in 2017. The company operates a production site in Kasimov, about 285 kilometers southeast of Moscow. Its 300 employees will move to Barry Callebaut once the transaction is complete.
Barry Callebaut, which imported industrial and specialty chocolate to Russia since the late 1990s, finished a chocolate manufacturing plant in Chekhov, about 60 kilometers south of Moscow, in 2007. Barry Callebaut also has a Chocolate Academy center in Moscow. In all, Barry Callebaut employs about 80 people in Russia.
Barry Callebaut Group CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique said he is “delighted” to join forces with Inforum, calling it a “established, locally engrained” company.
“Inforum’s heritage and local knowledge, combined with our innovation capabilities and international experience, will reinforce each other’s strengths.” he said. “Together, we will be able to bring further excellence and innovation to the market and to serve Russian consumer chocolate manufacturers even better.”
Evgeny Bulytov, co-founder and director of strategic development of Inforum, adds: “I am very proud of the great chocolate business we have built from scratch during the last three decades. Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of Inforum and our team as part of a large, international group.”
The transaction, subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of the year.