ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — The Barry Callebaut Group has reached an agreement to acquire Inforum, a Russian-based maker of chocolate, coatings and fillings. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 1989, Inforum operates a production site in Kasimov, Ryazan Oblast (about 177 miles southeast of Moscow). The company employs more than 300 people and generated sales of approximately $88 million in 2017.
Barry Callebaut said the acquisition of Inforum will strengthen its presence and production capacity in the high-growth Russian market. It also will allow the company to expand its market position, leverage its Gourmet and Specialties business and further increase its market penetration in CIS countries and export markets.
Barry Callebaut currently operates a chocolate manufacturing plant in Chekhov, Moscow Oblast, and a Chocolate Academy center in Moscow. The company employs about 80 people in Russia.
“Inforum’s heritage and local knowledge, combined with our innovation capabilities and international experience, will reinforce each other’s strengths." — Antoine de Saint-Affrique, Barry Callebaut
“We are delighted to join forces with such an established, locally engrained Russian company,” said Antoine de Saint-Affrique, chief executive officer of Barry Callebaut. “Inforum’s heritage and local knowledge, combined with our innovation capabilities and international experience, will reinforce each other’s strengths. Together, we will be able to bring further excellence and innovation to the market and to serve Russian consumer chocolate manufacturers even better.”
Evgeny Bulytov, director of strategic development at Inforum, said he is proud of the chocolate business that Inforum has built over the past three decades. Partnering with Barry Callebaut is the next step in ensuring the company’s future growth, he added.
“We really like the business principles and the team spirit on which Barry Callebaut is based,” Mr. Bulytov said. “One of the co-founders, Victor Voitov, will remain associated with the company as future chairman of the board of Barry Callebaut NL Russia and actively support the integration of Inforum into the Barry Callebaut Group during the transition period.”
Russia is the second largest chocolate confectionery market in terms of volume. The country’s per capita consumption of chocolate is 4.8 kg, according to Euromonitor.