HERSHEY, PA. — The Hershey Co. has purchased the Van Houten Singapore consumer chocolate business from Zurich, Switzerland-based Barry Callebaut.

Barry Callebaut will still retain ownership of the traditional Van Houten brand and will grant Hershey a perpetual exclusive license of the brand name and related trademarks in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Australia/New Zealand. In addition, Barry Callebaut will continue to use the Van Houten brand in gourmet and vending mix businesses worldwide.

"This divestiture will allow Barry Callebaut to focus entirely on our business with industrial and gourmet customers in Asia and the Middle East, which is our core business," said Maurizio Decio, president of the Asia/Pacific region for Barry Callebaut. "The growth markets of Asia are a prime target for us that we want to develop fast in order to benefit from the first-mover effect."

Financial terms of the transaction were not released. Van Houten’s sales revenue in 2007-08 was about $20 million.

"Van Houten is an established brand with a growing, profitable Asian business," said Ted Jastrzebski, senior vice-president of Hershey International. "This acquisition complements our existing business in Asia and gives Hershey an immediate in-market presence in several high-potential markets, including Malaysia and Indonesia. This transaction continues Hershey’s global strategy of entering growing markets through acquisitions and partnerships."