French food company Bongrain SA, via its holding company Soparind, has acquired 100 per cent of Chocolat Weiss.
A deal signed in early October means the Saint-Etienne-based bean-to-bar chocolate maker is now a wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary of Bongrain, France’s second biggest speciality cheese company (Caprice des Dieux, Cœur de Lion, Elle & Vire).
Bongrain’s appetite for chocolate is nothing new. The company already owns Valrhona, Révillon, Maison du Chocolat, De Neuville and Villars (Switzerland).
And this is not the first time Chocolat Weiss, founded in 1882 by Eugene Weiss, has changed ownership. The company was first sold by its founder’s descendants in 2002 (External Luxury), then again in 2007 (Finapar).
This latest move is expected to facilitate Weiss’s expansion in France and on the international market, providing it with much-needed capital.
Chocolat Weiss is most famous for its Napolitain, the individually wrapped bite-sized chocolate invented by Eugene Weiss in 1912, originally as a miniature “travel chocolate.”
Weiss, which employs 108 persons, had a turnover of 12.7 million euros in 2012, however, it has suffered increasing losses in recent years. This past summer the company closed its chocolate shops in Paris and Lille. It still has stores in Saint-Etienne, Lyon, Strasbourg, Clermont-Ferrand and Le-Puy-en-Velay. Its products are also available online and at Monoprix stores.
Viroflay-based Group Bongrain, which specialises in meat, seafood and chocolate, has a workforce of 18,650 employees in 30 countries. In 2012 the company had revenues of more than four billion euros.
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