Italian confectioner Venchi plans to expand in Asia with state support

MILAN, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Italian gourmet chocolate maker Venchi plans to expand in Asia using the financial support it has just received from the government, the company said on Thursday.

Italy’s internationalisation agency SIMEST has invested 4 million euros in Venchi’s Hong Kong subsidiary to help it roll out its 2019-2023 expansion plan. In addition SACE has guaranteed a 4.5 million euro loan issued to Venchi by Italian bank UniCredit.

Venchi, which sells pralines and ice creams, wants to double its stores in the next five years to 200, opening single-branded shops in Asia, especially in Japan and China.

Last year, Italian food sold in China reached a total value of 407 million euros ($464 million), up 17 percent from the previous year, according to official data.

Food exports are expected to grow on average 9 percent a year between 2019 and 2021, Italian export agency SACE says.

$1 = 0.8771 euros Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Mark Potter