Cargill expands European cocoa processing again

March 19 Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:34pm EDT

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March 19 (Reuters) - Cargill, one of the world's top cocoa dealers, has boosted its cocoa processing in Europe to meet growing demand for premium chocolates, the company said on Wednesday, its second expansion of its chocolate operations in three months.

The company has invested 10 million euros ($13.9 million) to expand its specialty cocoa liquor capabilities in its plants in Rouen, France, and Berlin, Germany, it said.

A spokesman declined to disclose the size of the expansions, but said they have been completed.

The news comes just three months after Cargill announced plans to invest $48 million to double capacity at its biggest European chocolate facility in Belgium.

Those investments in its European cocoa business come even as sources say the company is in talks to buy Archer Daniels Midland Co's cocoa business. Both companies have operations in Europe, the world's No. 1 consumer of chocolate.

Liquor is produced from grinding beans and processed into butter for chocolate bars and powder used in cookies. (Reporting by Marcy Nicholson in New York; Editing by Diane Craft)

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