(Adds shares, analyst comment)
ZURICH, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut BARN.S said on Monday it would sell its underperforming U.S. unit Brach's Candy to Farley's & Sathers Candy Co. Inc, sending its shares higher.
The sale will include all of the business and all assets of Brach’s and its affiliates, Barry Callebaut said, but did not disclose any financial details of the sale of the unit to the U.S. candy maker.
By 0856 GMT, shares in the group, which have gained some 36 percent so far this year, had risen over 1 percent to 833.50 Swiss francs ($702.2), outperforming weaker markets.
“We think the Brach’s disposal is a very positive move, as it will greatly improve the group and consumer division margins,” said Vontobel analyst Rene Weber.
Weber also estimated that Barry Callebaut had not made a gain on the sale and estimated that Brach’s was worth some 30 million francs in its books.
“The purchase price will be no higher than that, meaning no extraordinary gain for the company,” Weber said.
The company declined to comment.
The deal is expected to close by the end of November at the latest, the group said.
Brach’s, whose products include fudge nut goodies and peanut butter clusters, has struggled with rising competition and a stalling candy market in the U.S.
Brach’s has annual gross sales of around $270 million, with sugar candy making up around 75 percent of revenue and chocolate products accounting for around 25 percent.
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