Turkish company purchases Godiva

The Campbell Soup Co. will sell its Godiva brand to Turkey-based Yildiz for $850 million. Yildiz is the parent company of confectionery and snack firm Ulker, and Godiva will join its range of confectionery products once regulatory approvals are made. Ulker, which recently earned a 57% share of the Turkish chocolate market, sees the Godiva acquisition as a prime opportunity to establish itself as a premium chocolate presence not only throughout Turkey, but also the world. Campbell first announced plans to sell the luxury chocolate brand in August, stating that the chocolates do not fit in with its renewed focus on soup-based snacks, ready-made meals and vegetable drinks.

Financial firms purchase Necco

American Capital Strategies Ltd. and Clear Creek Capital LLC partnered with Domenic M. Antonellis, president and ceo of New England Confectionery Co., to purchase the candy company from UIS Inc. The deal with Necco, which is the oldest multi-line confectionery company in the U.S., was made for an undisclosed amount. The deal includes Necco’s 820,000-sq.-ft. headquarters and production facility in Revere, Mass. American Capital Strategies purchased the facility for $15 million, backed by a $35.5-million mortgage, according to financial press reports.

Cadbury Schweppes sells Monkhill to Tangerine

Cadbury Schweppes PLC sold its sugar confectionery and popcorn business, Monkhill to Blackpool, England-based Tangerine Confectionery Ltd. The deal, worth approximately $113 million in cash, follows Cadbury’s recent initiative to disconnect with its non-core brands and businesses. Monkhill’s 2007 revenue is expected to reach approximately $148 million, and last year’s pro forma earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization is targeted at approximately $13 million.

Barry Callebaut closes Morinaga deal...

Zurich-based Barry Callebaut recently announced the closing of its transaction with Japanese food company, Morinaga. The deal includes the acquisition of cocoa and chocolate production equipment at Morinaga’s Amagasaki, Japan, site. Barry Callebaut hopes to upgrade the production lines to generate a total production capacity of 20,000 tons a year. The companies also partnered for a 10-year supply agreement for 9,000 metric tones annually, which doubles Barry Callebaut’s Japanese sales volumes. Liquid chocolate deliveries are expected to commence within the next year.

...and inaugurates its new facility in China.

Barry Callebaut opened its brand new chocolate factory and its 8th Chocolate Academy in Suzhou, China, last month. The factory boasts a total production capacity of 25,000 metric tons per year and was built in the record time of only one year. The cutting-edge facility will allow Barry Callebaut to increase its customer base in China and the rest of Asia-Pacific. The company has held a presence in Asia-Pacific since 1997 with the establishment of its Singapore facility.

Companies faced with price fixing allegations

Some of the world’s largest chocolate companies, including Mars, Hershey and Nestlé, are facing price fixing lawsuits in the U.S. The allegations began in November 2007, when the Canadian Competition Bureau asked the companies to surrender pricing strategy documents. While the documents contained no proof of any wrongdoing, three lawsuits were filed last month-one in New Jersey and two in Pennsylvania. Last summer, cocoa prices reached their highest levels since 2003, and the lawsuits will undoubtedly increase pressure on the companies, which are already dealing with higher material costs. Additionally, the International Cocoa Organization recently reported that the cocoa deficit is greater than previously thought-242,000 tons compared to earlier projections of 156,000 tons-due to poor weather conditions in Africa and South America.

Kumar retires from Wrigley

Surinder Kumar, Wrigley’s chief innovation officer (cio) will retire from the company effective July 1, 2008. Kumar joined Wrigley in 2000 as its first-ever cio. Kumar will be succeeded by Rob Peterson, currently Wrigley’s v.p.-new products and packaging. Peterson, who has worked with Wrigley’s Innovation Team since 2006, will immediately assume the position of v.p.-innovation. Over the next six months, Peterson will work closely with Kumar to ensure a smooth transition of duties. Peterson will become cio upon Kumar’s retirement.

Cadbury's production move sparks environmental concerns

Cadbury confirmed plans to transfer some UK production to Poland, which has led to protests and accusations over food miles (a phrase referring to the proximity of place of manufacture to the place of sale). Considered one of the initial cases of union groups using environmental issues as a case against the diminished UK facilities, organizers claimed the products produced in Poland would have to be transported back to the UK. However, Cadbury notes that there will be an overall reduction of emissions through the closing of its UK facility. Cadbury is not building any new plants in Poland, but rather working in conjunction with established companies in the region.  

Lead levels recall Mexican candy

San Antonio-based Villa-Mex Imports is voluntarily recalling Miguelito Azucar Salada Enchilada Acidulada, a candy found to have contained elevated levels of lead. The candy is a reddish powder in a cellophane packet and is the third candy imported from Mexico by the company to be voluntarily recalled. Villa-Mex also earlier recalled Barrilito and Tarritos candies.

Interbrand secures Wrigley account

Interbrand Corp.’s division in Cincinnati will take over design and packaging initiatives for Chicago-based Wrigley Co. This is not the first business venture between the companies-both have worked together for about two years.  No financial details were disclosed, though Interbrand did say that Wrigley would be among the company’s Top 10 accounts. Additionally, the company expects the Wrigley account to bring in new jobs at its local division, which currently employs approximately 100 in Cincinnati. Ronny Kastner, executive director of the Cincinnati account management team, will be Wrigley’s global relationship manager for the project.