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Blink once, there’s an acquisition…or two…or three. Blink twice, and there’s a reorganization or two. It’s been a sugar-charged year in the confectionery industry as multinationals reconfigure thenmelves to better address individual markets. .
One major change is the restructuring of Mars. While headquarters will remain in McLean, Va., Mars Inc. announced this past autumn of its intent to combine its Mars Chocolate and Wrigley segments into one, calling it Mars Wrigley Confectionery, which will be phased in 2017. Martin Radvan, current global president of Wrigley, will lead the new segment. Mars Wrigley Confectionery will have approximately 30,000 associates at 52 production sites in 70 countries, with its global hub in Chicago.
Mars Chocolate and Wrigley will continue to operate separately for the time being. Jean-Christophe Flatin will continue as president of Mars Global Chocolate. Casey Keller, previously the regional president of Wrigley Americas, will become president of Global Wrigley.
Another major player, Yildiz Holding, created a new global snack and confectionery entity, pladis, which merges core biscuit, chocolate, and confectionery businesses, such as Ulker, Godiva Chocolatier, United Biscuits, and DeMet’s Candy Co., into one.
The new company unites internationally recognized brands to form a $5.2-billion business that positions pladis as a global leader in the confectionery and snack category.
With 36 factories in 13 countries, the new company will employ 26,000 people. It will be led by Cem Karakas, ceo, and Ali Ulker, vice chairman. The senior leadership team will focus on innovation and quality, while the company will operate on a regional basis, with each region responsible for the manufacturing and commercial activities of the full pladis brand portfolio.
Several other companies acquired existing confectioneries including Polish-chocolate manufacturer Colian Holding SA, which bought Elizabeth Shaw Ltd., and its subsidiary Famous Names Ltd. in April for $3.4 million from Norwegian fund Imagine Capital SA. Elizabeth Shaw, manufacturer of deluxe chocolates, is known for its strong customer base in the UK.
United States manufacturer Mount Franklin Foods LLC, of El Paso, Texas, purchased the now defunct Au’some Candy Co. plant in Sumter, S.C., for $10 million and is expected to have this new plant become operational by the middle of 2017 leading to 225 new jobs. Mount Franklin Foods, which owns Sunrise Confections and Azar Nuts, will start producing vitamin gummies and other fortified products, as well as organic and natural fruit snacks using state-of-the-art equipment.
Hershey acquired Ripple Brand Collective, of Congers, N.Y., in April, which owns barkTHINS, a snacking chocolate brand sold in re-sealable packages. Annual net sales of the business are expected to be in the $65-75 million range.
Hearthside Food Solutions, of Downers Grove, Ill., picked up another plant, Oak State Bakery. This acquisition, and the start of its new bar plant in Boise, Idaho, has increased its sales and workforce.
Argentina’s confectionery giant Arcor has formed an alliance with La Serenisima, the largest dairy product producer in Argentina. Arcor has reportedly invested $60 million in Mastellone Hermanos, the firm behind La Serenisima, for a 25 percent in stake. This is strictly a shareholder investment and no Arcor employees are being planned to transfer.
Italian chocolate maker A. Loacker AG/SpA opened its third production facility in June. The 387,501-square-foot plant is adjacent to an existing plant in Heinfels, Austria.
Other changes occurred in location. Swiss chocolatier, Chocolats Halba, will be moving their headquarters from Wallisellen to Prattein after a new and larger factory will be built next year. This will unite production facilities currently in Wallisellen and Hinwill.
Baronie N.V., which has two headquarters, also is moving, reallocated its offices of central support, from Cologne, Germany, to its factory in Norderstedt, Hamburg, Germany, in May. They have a second headquarters in Brugge, Belgium, which will stay.
One company has changed its name. Petra Foods Ltd., of Singapore, changed its name last March to Delfi Limited to reflect the group’s most notable brand, Delfi.
Finally, serving as boss has changed for some companies as well. The head of Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprungli, Ernst Tanner, has given up his position as chief executive officer to serve as the Switzerland-based company’s executive chairman. The board of directors appointed Dr. Dieter Weisskopf, who had previously served as the company’s chief financial officer, as the new CEO effective last October.
David Nuutinen, former president and CEO of Cloetta A.B., retired this past fall from that position from the Swedish candy company. Danko Maras is serving as interim president and CEO.