Cargill has announced it is set to acquire Belgian chocolate supplier in order to enhance its presence in the chocolate sector.\r\n\r\nThe combined business will aim to accelerate growth in the gourmet segment. The deal will allow Cargill to provide increased customer intimacy and enhanced production capabilities with a wide-ranging product portfolio.\r\n\r\nSmet has a global distribution network for gourmet products, two fully owned manufacturing sites in Belgium and Poland, and employs almost 90 people.\r\n\r\nInge Demeyere, managing director of Cargill\u2019s chocolate activities in Europe, said: \u201cThe proposed acquisition emphasises Cargill\u2019s commitment to its customers in the gourmet segment, building on the strengths of both organisations and enhancing complementary capabilities. We will broaden our product portfolio and services to artisans and chocolatiers, bakery, hospitality businesses and food service industries.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cSmet enjoys great market recognition. As their brand joins Cargill\u2019s existing brand portfolio, their unique entrepreneurial capabilities will be leveraged to allow for a dedicated focus on gourmet customers. Together we intend to further strengthen our customer relationships and we look forward to continuing to serve customers\u2019 chocolate needs, today and in the future.\u201d\r\n\r\nTheo Graban, executive member of the Smet board, said: \u201cFor over five decades, Smet is driven by a passion for chocolate and stands out with a relentless problem-solving attitude, innovative mindset and great flexibility.\u201d\r\n\r\nJohan Smet, CEO of Smet, added: \u201cCargill 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.\u201d\r\n\r\nEntry into the acquisition agreement is subject to information and\/or consultation procedures with the appropriate employee representative bodies. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019.