The Barry Callebaut Group has signed an agreement to acquire Europe Chocolate Company (ECC), a Belgian privately-owned B2B manufacturer of chocolate specialties and decorations.

This strategic acquisition expands the Group's value adding specialties capabilities, allowing Barry Callebaut to cater to the increasing demand of food manufacturers for highly customized specialty chocolate and decorations. The integration of ECC expands Barry Callebaut’s specialized chocolate molding capabilities and allows the Group to offer tailor-made solutions thanks to ECC’s advanced inhouse developed technology.

"We have a long-standing relationship with ECC and strongly believe in the growth opportunities of highly customized industrial specialty chocolate ingredients. The acquisition will help us to further broaden our market position thanks to ECC’s unique know-how and its highly flexible manufacturing facility in Belgium," said Wim Debedts, vice president food manufacturers Western Europe at Barry Callebaut

ECC has been manufacturing specialty chocolate ingredients since 1993. Today, ECC produces a wide range of industrial specialty chocolate and decorations in multiple taste and color variations including batons, curls, chunks, leaves, and shavings. Its flexible production setup allows it to supply a wide variety of customers such as biscuit, bakery, dairy, ice-cream, confectionery, and food service industries. The company operates a chocolate factory and a warehouse in Malle, close to Antwerp, Belgium.

"I am very proud of the specialty chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past close to 30 years. Joining the Barry Callebaut family will enable and accelerate ECC’s growth with access to new customers [and] new geographies via a broad sales network, helping to accentuate our unique proposition," said Eric Van Tichelen, managing director of ECC

The acquisition is expected to close in the coming months. The parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the transaction.