Cerea acquires Chocmod, the leader in chocolate trufflesOn 23 November 2021, Cerea completed the acquisition of Chocmod, the world’s leading producer of chocolate truffles. Ghislain Lesaffre and Antoine Fortin, former majority shareholders, are reinvesting and supporting the handover of the managerial reins to Emmanuel Bois.Founded in 1948 in Roncq near Lille (France), Chocmod was taken over by Ghislain Lesaffre and Antoine Fortin in 2008. It has enjoyed very strong international growth since then, which notably led to the setting up of a production unit in 2011 in Saint Jean sur Richelieu near Montreal (Canada) to serve the North American market. Today, Chocmod addresses the European, Asian, EMEA and American markets, with international business accounting for more than 75% of revenue, making it a world leader in its market niche.Chocmod Goup employs 120 people. It generates revenue over €30 million. In addition to chocolate truffles, Chocmod produces a range of chocolate confectioneries that include chocolate-coated marshmallows and nougat. Its customers are mainly large retail outlets, but also co-manufacturers, wholesalers-importers and e-commerce sites. In recent years, Chocmod has removed palm oil from its recipes and launched a string of new products. With its two automatized industrial facilities manned by dynamic teams, quality, service and innovation are core of Chocmod strategy.Ghislain Lesaffre and Antoine Fortin wanted to hand over the reins to a new manager. Cerea Partners introduced them to Emmanuel Bois, former CEO of Daco Bello and Reitzel France, who furthermore has long experience in the chocolate industry. “It is a great pleasure and honour to be able to participate in the development of this fine company, especially given my French-Swiss origins, which makes me particularly appreciative of the benefits of chocolate” says Emmanuel Bois.Following the primary LBO, Cerea Partners now holds a majority stake through the Cerea Capital II fund. Ghislain Lesaffre and Antoine Fortin, the sellers, are supporting the managerial transition by reinvesting. “We are proud to co-invest with Cerea Partners, a team with extensive expertise in the food & beverage industry. Cerea has a portfolio of recognised brands and is the ideal partner to guide the employees and the company along the path to sustainable and responsible growth”, confide Ghislain Lesaffre and Antoine Fortin.With Cerea Partners’ support, Chocmod is now entering a new phase in its development driven by:
Continuing international expansion;
Expanding the product line through innovation;
Developing multi-channel business (food retail outlets, OOH markets, specialist channels, digital, etc.);
Completing build-ups with complementary products to existing ones.Chocmod has shown considerable resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic and has been able to maintain its level of business and margin thanks to the motivation of its staff.The additional financing setup comprises a bank loan arranged by Crédit du Nord (coordinator) alongside Banque CIC Nord-Ouest and Crédit Agricole du Nord de France (co-arrangers) and a mezzanine tranche provided by Indigo funds.