Belgian investment family ‘take minority stake’ in Tony’s Chocolonely

Belgian investment company Verlinvest is taking a minority stake in Dutch sustainable chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday, quoting sources.

Tony’s director Henk Jan Beltman has confirmed talks with potential financial partners but said he could say no more, the FD said.

Verlinvest is owned by the wealthy Spoelberch family which made its fortune from beer group AB Inbev. The group used to have a stake in Dutch alternative supermarket group Marqt but currently has no other investments in the Netherlands.

Tony’s has brought in Rabobank in its hunt for a wealthy partner to help its international expansion. The company was founded in 2006 by the makers of consumer food television programme Keuringsdienst van Waarde on the pledge that all its chocolate would be slave-free.

Sales totalled €67m last year but the company only just scraped a profit, mainly due to the rollout abroad. Nevertheless, 80% of sales are still generated in the Netherlands.

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