Callebaut Hopes To Sell Consumer Business

GENEVA (Reuters) – Barry Callebaut (BARN.S), the world’s biggest chocolate maker, is still determined to sell its consumer business and hopes to clinch a deal in 2010, its chief executive was quoted on Saturday as saying.

Selling chocolate to consumers had no place in Callebaut’s business-to-business strategy and was in any case less profitable, Juergen Steinemann said in an interview with Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft.

“The business has developed well recently so a transaction can be carried out on a good basis. We plan to settle the sale in 2010,” he said.

Steinemann said there was keen interest in buying the operation from both industry and private equity.

Outsourcing — manufacturing for other producers — would account for more than half of future growth, he said.

Organic growth in new geographical regions, and measures such as cutting costs or developing the profitable Gourmet business would account for the rest, he said. (Reporting by Jonathan Lynn, editing by Mike Peacock)