ZURICH, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Nestle (NESN.S) is buying a majority stake in Brazilian premium chocolate maker Grupo CRM, the Swiss food group said on Thursday.
Grupo CRM operates a direct-to-consumer model, with more than 1,000 chocolate boutiques under the Kopenhagen and Brasil Cacau brands and a strong, growing online presence, Nestle said.
Nestle, which is buying the stake from private equity company Advent International, declined to give financial details for the deal, which is expected to close in 2024.
Website Brazil Journal on Wednesday reported that Nestle would pay about 3 billion reais ($602.78 million) for the company, while local newspaper Valor Economico reported the figure at 4.5 billion reais ($904.18 million).
Nestle said Renata Moraes Vichi would continue to lead Grupo CRM's operations as CEO and remain a minority shareholder.
The executive has been with the company for 25 years and has built up and significantly expanded Grupo CRM, which currently only operates in Brazil.
The acquisition is part of Nestle's strategy to expand its presence in the super-premium chocolate segment.
Chocolate bars under the company's Kopenhagen brand sell for 29.90 Rials (US$6), while a box of chocolates retails for around 130 rials.
"This acquisition further broadens and strengthens our confectionery presence in Brazil, enabling us to enter the high-end segment," said Laurent Freixe, Nestle's CEO for Latin America.
"Kopenhagen and Brasil Cacau offer premium chocolates that are highly appreciated by Brazilian consumers."
In June, Brazilian competition regulator Cade approved Nestle's acquisition of Chocolates Garoto more than 20 years after it was first announced.
Among the conditions for the approval, the company agreed not to make any acquisitions that account for at least 5% of the Brazilian chocolate market for five years.
($1 = 42,000.0000 rials)
Reporting by John Revill, Editing by Friederike Heine and Janane Venkatraman
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