Tony’s Chocolonely has acquired Althaea NV and De Laet International NV, forming the chocolate factory Althaea-De Laet Int.
The family-run business has been Tony’s long-term partner and chocolate factory. The acquisition marks a strategic milestone for Tony’s growth plans. By operating its own factory to mould its chocolate bars, Tony’s will be able to innovate faster and be more flexible on production level while scaling up its manufacturing capacity.
Tony’s will continue to collaborate with its other long-term partners to meet demand for its chocolate bars. The acquisition also marks an important step to pursuing the company’s dream of Tony’s Chocolonely Chocolate Circus, a factory on the border of Zaanstad and Amsterdam, which will be realized in the years to come.
Anne-Wil Dijkstra, Tony’s Chocolonely COO, called the acquisition an “exciting next step” for Tony’s Chocolonely.
“Ingrid, Alain and the team at Althaea-De Laet Int. have been our partners from the very beginning, supporting our mission even though it might have seemed next-level ambitious at times – and some of our ideas like creating an unequally divided chocolate bar were a little bit crazy at the very least,” Dijkstra said. “We’re very grateful for this opportunity and the trust they have in Tony’s to honor and safeguard the future of this company that has been built with so much love.”
De Laet Int. was founded in 1960 by the De Laet family and has remained a family business ever since. In 1987, Althaea joined, taking on responsibility for the commercial development. Driven by a passion for chocolate, the Belgian manufacturer has come a long way from its beginning as a small and exclusive artisanal company, specializing in liqueur pralines, to the chocolate factory it is today, moulding bars and tablets for Tony’s and other chocolate makers.
Tony’s was introduced to Althaea-De Laet Int. through Barry Callebaut in 2004, tapping into their extensive experience with Fairtrade chocolate to produce the first alarming red Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bar.
“Owing to the fact that we as a family have no direct succession, we were looking for a partner, an entrepreneur, who could continue our dream with the same spirit and passion,” said Ingrid Bryssinck, managing director at Althaea-De Laet Int. “And we have found this partner in the team of Tony's Chocolonely. We trust that Tony’s will ensure that Althaea-De Laet has a bright future while maintaining our values of caring for the team, quality and collegiality.”
Tony’s will collaborate closely with the factory’s management team to ensure a smooth transition in the next couple of years.
“We first need to understand how to walk before we can start running,” Dijkstra said. “The whole Althaea-De Laet Int. team has decades of knowledge and skills under their belt. They know all the ins and outs of how to mould the tastiest chocolate and efficiently operate a production facility. Production on this scale is a new capability for us. But we’re excited to partner and learn from them and to get a grip on the production over time.”