Following the divestment of its European consumer business, Barry Callebaut, the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, is announcing the further strengthening of its footprint in Region Europe. Over the next few months, the company will invest nearly EUR 22 million/USD 31 million to upgrade and expand existing facilities. The majority of these investments is planned for 2011 and will be fully operational as of spring 2012.

Massimo Garavaglia, President of Barry Callebaut Western Europe, said: "With the planned investments, we will not only strengthen our industrial footprint in Western Europe, the company's largest business region. We are also investing in our network of Chocolate Academies to support the further growth of our Gourmet business."

In order to further optimize the factory network, increase customer proximity as well as to respond to increased demand for solid products, Barry Callebaut is expanding its chocolate molding capacities by building a new line in Banbury (United Kingdom) and in Meulan (France). In addition, the company is also upgrading the chocolate factory in Banbury, incorporating latest technology and improved service capabilities.

In line with the aim to accelerate the expansion of its Gourmet & Specialties Products business, led by the two global brands Callebaut® and Cacao Barry®, Barry Callebaut will build a new Callebaut® Chocolate Academy in Wieze (Belgium) and is refurbishing its Cacao Barry® Chocolate Academy in Meulan (France). At its specialty and decorations plant in Zundert (The Netherlands), the company is establishing a new center of competence for chocolate decorations, adding to the current Chocolate Academy there. At this so-called 'Decoration Inspiration Center', customers will have the opportunity to develop customized decoration products for their specific application needs.