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Wilmar acquires 50% stake of Singapore's Aalst Chocolate

WILMAR International has acquired a 50 per cent interest in Singapore chocolate manufacturer Aalst Chocolate.

The acquisition, made through its wholly-owned subsidiary, KOG Investments, was undertaken through a mix of subscribing for new shares in Aalst, the purchase of the entire interest held by International Chocolate & Cocoa Holdings, and the purchase of equity interests from Richard Lee, the firm's founder and CEO, and Connie Kwan, its co-founder and managing director.

The other 50 per cent stake in Aalst Chocolate will still be owned by Richard Lee and Connie Kwan, collectively.

The amount paid for the acquisition was not disclosed.

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Wilmar CEO Kuok Khoon Hong said that Aalst Chocolate, with its long experience and expertise in chocolate and compound-making, is its ideal partner to expand its offering and services to bakery products and confectionary manufacturers. Wilmar manufactures specialty fats used in the manufacture of chocolates and compounds.

Aalst's Mr Lee said that the deal will allow Aalst to leverage on Wilmar's vast manufacturing and distribution network in Asia.

"Aalst can further penetrate into China, a rapidly growing chocolate market and also expand into new geographies," he said.