Global agribusiness giant Cargill announced on 4 March that it plans to acquire Smet, a leading Belgium-based supplier of chocolate and sweets decorations to the food service and confectionery markets.

“The combined business will provide significant opportunities to accelerate growth in the gourmet segment,” said Inge Demeyere, managing director of Cargill’s chocolate activities in Europe. “We will broaden our product portfolio and services to artisans and chocolatiers, bakery, hospitality businesses and food service industries.”

Smet has a global distribution network for gourmet products and two manufacturing sites in Belgium and Poland.

Cargill’s cocoa and chocolate business supplies standard and customised cocoa and chocolate ingredients for use in bakery, confectionery and dairy applications. The company’s product range includes the Gerkens brand cocoa powder, chocolate, coatings, fillings, cocoa liquors and cocoa butters. The business has processing plants in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, the Netherlands, UK and the USA.

Cargill has its own cocoa bean sourcing operations for buying, handling and exporting cocoa beans in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019.