Puratos Group, Groot-Bijgaarden, Belgium, and Grand-Place Holding, Brussels, Belgium, two international groups active in the business-to-business supply of raw materials and ingredients to the food industry, have finalized negotiations for a joint venture agreement in Vietnam, effective January 2013. The signing marks the start of a project that will support the growth of both groups in the region.

Daniel Malcorps and Gricha Safarian

Participating in the signing ceremony, which took place Oct. 11 at the Grand-Place factory in Binh Duong, were Daniel Malcorps (front left), CEO of Puratos Group. and Gricha Safarian (front right), president of Grand-Place Holding and managing director of the new joint venture. The groups agreed on the creation a joint venture (70% Puratos and 30% Grand-Place) to join forces on the Vietnamese market and within the region. The joint venture, which will be known as Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam, represents a total investment of $10 million over a five-year period into three business lines: bakery, patisserie and chocolate. The investment will support the increase in production capacity of both groups, as well as the construction of a new distribution center in Binh Duong to improve logistics and service for the entire market. In addition, there will be a new R&D and Innovation Center to service local customers.

“With the growing population in the region and the rapid development of the bakery, patisserie and chocolate industry in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, this is the perfect time to strengthen our position in the market,” says Piet Sanders, Puratos’ regional director Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific. “Thanks to this joint venture, we will also be able to meet the needs of the full range of customers, from artisan, semi-industry and industry to supermarket and food service.”

The joint venture also will initiate an ambitious vertical integration project—from locally grown cocoa beans to chocolate drops—by turning the existing Grand-Place collection and fermentation pilot station into an industrial plant. As a result, the joint venture will become one of the major players for the use and promotion of Vietnamese cocoa beans.

“My team and myself are most excited about this joint venture and are really looking forward to start the cooperation with Puratos Group,” says Safarian. “We have been working hard on this market for many years and joining force with another Belgian group, a global player in this field, is going to provide us with the means of a strong acceleration of our long term plans. This is aimed to become a ‘1 + 1 = 3’ collaboration.”