France's Cemoi and Belgium's Sweet Products in chocolate takeover talks

PARIS (Reuters) - Belgium’s family-owned Sweet Products has entered into exclusive talks to take over France’s largest chocolate producer Cemoi, creating a European chocolate and candy leader, Cemoi said in a statement on Tuesday.

The new group, which would have a turnover of more than 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) and more than 5,000 employees, would have strong international development potential through producing Belgian, French and Swiss origin chocolates within the same group, it said.

It would also benefit from total control of the cocoa supply chain, from the bean to finished products, thanks to its 24 factories in Europe, the United States, England, and Côte d’Ivoire, it said.

Cemoi, also family-owned, is one of the largest bean processors in Ivory Coast. Sweet Products is the owner of chocolate maker Baronie Group and of the ‘Belgian Ice Cream’ group.

($1 = 0.8194 euros)

Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Jan Harvey