Katjes International GmbH, the international subsidiary of Katjes Group, has acquired Cloetta Italia for $53 million, pushing the German gummy manufacturer to No. 2 in the Italian confectionery market.
Katjes announced the acquisition, which includes four production facilities and brands Sperlari, Saila, Dietor, Galatine and Dietorelle, on Thursday. 
"As the fourth largest market in Western Europe, Italy was always the focus of our efforts to expand our strong market position,” said said Tobias Bachmüller, co-managing partner of Katjes International in a statement translated from German. “With the acquisition of the No. 2 in Italy and its established brands, we have made a significant step towards further growth."
Cloetta, headquartered in Sweden, produces sugar and chocolate confectionery items largely for the Nordic region. Its Italian division, based in Cremona, Italy, has a net turnover of $114 million. Approximately 400 employees work at plants in Cremona, Gordona, St. Pietro in Casale and Silvi Marina.
Financed through bonds, the deal is not subject to regulatory approvals and will close in the next three months. Cloetta CEO Henri de Sauvage-Nolting said the company will focus on business in North and Western Europe. Cloetta acquired Nordic pick-and-mix supplier CandyKing earlier this year.
“I am very pleased that we have found a new home for our Italian brands, factories and employees,” he said. “We already know Katjes and are well aware of their business experience and good employer track record. I am convinced that they will be able to manage and develop the business going forward.”
This acquisition comes two weeks after Katjes announced it had purchased a 5.7 percent stake in Austrian wafer manufacturer Josef Manner & Comp AG. Over the last 17 years, Katjes has pursued a deliberate acquisition strategy to fuel its growth.
Beginning with Villosa in 2000 and continuing with Ahoj-Brause and candy brands such as Gletscher Eis and Granini during the following years, Katjes expanded its dominance in the licorice market while subsequently entering into new hard candy segments.
Katjes went into overdrive in the past five years, acquiring Festivaldi, Lutti, Dallmann’s, Piasten, and the Vicks brand.