Austrian family Meinl, owner of Romanian brand Kandia Dulce and heavy-weight player on the chocolate market has bought the Romanian division of Heidi Chocolat from Swiss confiseur Laderach as part of a deal that is sure to further fortify the Meinl confectionery stronghold.
Kandia and Heidi are to be united as “sister companies” under the business name KEX and ownership, but the two businesses are to continue running their operations separately, with unchanged managerial teams, as indicated in a joint press release.
“To enhance the development potential of Heidi Chocolat on the local and international retail market for premium chocolate, Läderach has agreed with the owners of Kandia Dulce to buy Heidi,”, reads the press release. “(…)Läderach is confident that the new structure will allow Heidi to pursue its strategic objective more efficiently. At the same time, the sale of Heidi will allow Laderach to focus on its core business, confectionery, dedicated to specialized customers, and on its distribution through specialized stores.”
Following the closure of the Poiana chocolate factory owned by Kraft Foods in Romania in 2009, a move motivated by insufficient opportunities for development locally and desire to relocate operations to more “friendly” territories, such as Bulgaria, Kandia and Heidi ended up in a one on one battle for the local chocolate market.
Consequently, the deal between the two is to be completed only after approval from the Competition Council. “The transaction must first be approved by the Competition Council, and we cannot provide any details on this until that time”, stated Mihut Craciun, Manager of Kandia Dulce.
Kandia Dulce is the former Sugar Product Factory of Bucharest, re-branded as Excelent Bucuresti in 1991. In 2003, Excelent Bucuresti took over 60 percent of the capital of Kandia Timisoara, a recently privatized sugar product company founded in 1890.
Excelent and Kandia then merged and in 2007 the resulting company became part of the Cadbury-Schweppes group, under the name Cadbury Romania. In 2010 the company changed its name back to Kandia Dulce, after Kraft Foods (new global owner of Cadbury) sold Cadbury Romania to investment fund Oryxa Capital.
In November 2011, Kandia reached an understanding with Primola for the takeover of Supreme Chocolat. Kandia reported a EUR 29 million (RON 123 million) turnover and losses of close to EUR 1 million (RON 4 million) last year.
Heidi’s turnover for 2011, on the other hand, stood at EUR 14.5 million (RON 61.4 million) with half of the company’s production heading for export to over 40 countries.
Ioana Jelea firstname.lastname@example.org
(photo source: Heidi’s Facebook page)