Agriculture giant Cargill is sweetening up its business, as it plans to acquire Smet, a Belgium-based maker of chocolate and sweets decorations. The deal, announced Monday, will enhance Cargill’s gourmet-focused business arm, which includes an already-established inventory of cocoa and chocolate treats.
“The proposed acquisition…[builds] on the strengths of both organisations,” says Inge Demeyere, managing director of Cargill’s chocolate activities in Europe, in a statement. “Smet enjoys great market recognition. As their brand joins Cargill’s existing brand portfolio, their unique entrepreneurial capabilities will be leveraged to allow for a dedicated focus on gourmet customers.”
Wayzata-based Cargill’s array of chocolate products—from cocoa powder, butter and liquor to chocolate coatings and fillings for industrial applications—reaches customers in 70 countries across the globe. That reach and Cargill’s supply chain will embolden Smet’s business, believes company CEO Johan Smet.
“Cargill provides us with a unique opportunity to serve our customers with a globally integrated cocoa and chocolate supply chain, a renowned sustainability approach and deep chocolate expertise,” he said.
Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. Once the deal is finalized—likely by the end of the month—Cargill will assume control of Smet’s two manufacturing sites in Belgium and Poland, as well as the company’s nearly 90 employees.
Smet, since its 1962 founding, has remained a family-owned gourmet chocolate business. The company primarily serves the food service markets and has a presence in 50 countries where it sells semi-finished products from chocolate shavings to high-end chocolate toppings and decorations.
Once combined, the companies anticipate their customers will benefit from “new decoration technology” and faster to-market speed for new products, in addition to a larger and more varied selection of chocolatey treats.
“Together we [Cargill and Smet] intend to further strengthen our customer relationships and we look forward to continuing to serve customers’ chocolate needs, today and in the future,” says Demeyere.
Cargill’s upcoming acquisition of Smet comes after a series of other moves it’s made in the bakery space, which includes the launch of a new cocoa powder Gerkens CT70 and a new palm shortening line PalmAgility in February. It also comes just months after the company announced a sustainability initiative involving, in part, the elimination of deforestation from its cocoa supply chain.