Cargill has entered into an agreement to acquire Aalst Chocolate Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based chocolate manufacturer whose product offering includes oven-stable and artisanal chocolates and compounds, in addition to a line of premium retail chocolate products and luxury pralines. The acquisition is expected to significantly expand Cargill’s presence in Asia Pacific, adding chocolate to its existing portfolio of cocoa products, already sold throughout the region.
“The rapidly growing Asian market is increasingly exerting its influence around the world, inspiring inspiration and driving international trends,” said Francesca Kleemans, Managing Director of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate Asia-Pacific. “Joining Aalst strengthens our position in this critical region, allowing us to become the supplier of choice for industrial and catering customers. With an expanded selection of value-added and specialty chocolate products and deep technical expertise, together we can accelerate innovation, better helping customers create products that continue to surprise and delight.
Aalst supplies products to more than 50 countries, exporting to industrial, retail and foodservice customers in key markets such as India, China, Southeast Asia, Oceania, Korea and the Japan. The company operates a manufacturing facility in Singapore and has R&D capabilities in Singapore and Shanghai. Once the transaction is finalized, the more than 200 Aalst employees in the region will join Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate operations in Asia Pacific.
“Singapore-made and Singapore-made products are both highly regarded and renowned for meeting strict world-class standards,” said Richard Lee, Founder and CEO of Aalst. “We are proud of Aalst Chocolate’s heritage as a Singaporean company with a renowned presence of over 18 years in the chocolate industry in Asia. With Cargill’s global expertise and experience, we believe this new company will be well positioned to harness the full potential of the exciting synergistic growth opportunities and become an ideal integrated chocolate solutions provider for our customers.
Cargill also announced that it is preparing to start its first Asian chocolate manufacturing operations in India in September. Cargill partnered with a local manufacturer in India last year to open the plant, which is initially expected to produce around 10,000 tonnes of chocolate compounds for the domestic market.
Cargill established its cocoa presence in Asia in 1995 in Makassar, Indonesia, with a team designated to support the trade and management of the cocoa supply of Cargill’s processing plants in Europe and Brazil. In 2014, the company opened a cocoa processing plant in Gresik, Indonesia, to manufacture premium Gerkens cocoa products.