Cocoa ingredients deal in dispute

by Eric Schroeder
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Barry Callebaut AG’s proposed acquisition of the cocoa ingredients division of Singapore-based Petra Foods Ltd. has hit a snag after Barry Callebaut sought a discount in the final acquisition price.

The acquisition originally was announced Dec. 12, 2012, at a cost of $950 million, but that price was lowered to $860 million in July of 2013. Then, in September, Barry Callebaut sought a reduction of approximately $98.3 million in the closing price. Petra Foods said the price adjustments “do not have a proper or valid basis and/or have not been properly substantiated or justified.”

In a statement published to its web site on Oct. 22, Barry Callebaut said the two parties now will have to apply the dispute resolution mechanism foreseen in the share purchase agreement.

“This dispute related to the final purchase price does not affect in any way the operational performance or the integration of the recently acquired cocoa business; it will however affect the calculation of the final purchase consideration and goodwill,” Barry Callebaut said.

The combination of the two businesses would create an organization with more than 8,000 employees, estimated annual sales volume of 1.6 million tonnes and estimated annual sales revenue of 6 billion Swiss francs ($6.4 billion).

Barry Callebaut would maintain its regional structure, including Region Europe, Region Americas and Region Asia-Pacific. The global cocoa business would be called Global Cocoa and would include the cocoa ingredients division acquired from Petra Foods.
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