The Barry Callebaut Group has reached an agreement to acquire GKC Foods (Australia) Pty Ltd., a producer of chocolate, coatings and fillings, serving many consumer chocolate brands in Australia and New Zealand. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Zurich-based Barry Callebaut says the acquisition of GKC will give it an established presence and manufacturing capacity in the growing Australian market, while also allowing the company to expand its position in the industrial chocolate market and leverage its value-adding Gourmet & Specialties business. The company says it will continue to work with local distributors in the region who have been importing and distributing its industrial and gourmet chocolate and cocoa products to the country since the 1970s.

GKF Foods, meanwhile, has been offering its “Made in Australia” chocolate and confectionery products since the 1980s. The company’s portfolio of products contains organic and vegan chocolate for dedicated chocolate shops, gourmet delis, specialty food outlets and key national retailers. The company operates a chocolate factory and a warehouse in Melbourne.

As part of the transaction, Barry Callebaut says it plans to invest in upgrading and expanding the chocolate facility’s existing infrastructure. The company also intends to install a new chocolate production line and deploy an integrated management system to enhance automated production. In addition, the company will employ around 50 people at the site, including GKC Foods’ existing employees, who will transfer to Barry Callebaut upon completion of the transaction.

Australia and New Zealand have an average chocolate consumption of approximately 5 kg per capita, the highest per-capita chocolate consumption in Asia Pacific, according to data from Euromonitor.

“We strongly believe in the growth opportunities of the Australian and New Zealand chocolate confectionery markets,” says Ben De Schryver, president of Barry Callebaut in Asia Pacific. “We already have the highest quality products today and we will further grow our competitive advantage through the acquisition of, and investment in, the best-in-class GKC Foods manufacturing facility in Australia.”

John Borell, managing director of GKC Foods, adds, “I am very proud of the great chocolate business we have built from scratch over the past 35 years. Our agreement with Barry Callebaut will ensure the successful future of GKC Foods and our team as part of a large, international, group. We really appreciate the business principles and the team spirit on which Barry Callebaut is based.”