February 10/Zurich/Reuters -- Barry Callebaut signed an agreement to acquire 100% of Mona Lisa Food Products Inc. The currently privately owned company will be integrated into Barry Callebaut's North American Gourmet & Specialties Products business. The acquisition of Mona Lisa confirms Barry Callebaut's intention to further accelerate the growth of its Gourmet & Specialties Products business and to add more adjacent products to the company's offerings for professional users of chocolate such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs, bakers and the HORECA business (hotels, restaurants, catering).

With the acquisition of Mona Lisa Food Products, Barry Callebaut will also strengthen its global footprint and establish a dedicated foothold for decorations products in the U.S. The newly acquired company complements the business activities of Barry Callebaut's center of competence for chocolate decorations located in Zundert (The Netherlands).

Mona Lisa Food Products, Inc. generated sales revenue approaching CHF 9 million (8 million euros/$10 million) in 2011 with around 40 employees.

Peter Thom, president and owner of Mona Lisa Food Products, says, "Since its inception, we have run Mona Lisa as a family business. The growth and success of our brand has brought us to the time where it is best to hand the company over to a partner that can continue this success. We believe we have found that partner in Barry Callebaut and see a continued future of growth and success."   

Juergen B. Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut, says, "The acquisition of Mona Lisa Food Products Inc. is another step to broaden our knowledge and to accelerate the growth of our Gourmet & Specialties Products business. As a part of Barry Callebaut, the company will strengthen our global market position for chocolate decorations and serve as our dedicated center of competence in the U.S."

The transaction is expected to close in March 2012.  The two parties have agreed not to disclose any financial details of the transaction.

 From the February 10, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.