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Chocolate brand Galler raises capital for turnaround

Chocolate brand Galler raises capital for turnaround

Galler becomes more Belgian again. The Chaudfontaine-based chocolate brand is raising 12.6 million euros to survive the cocoa crisis, leaving only half of the company in the hands of Qataris.

A recovery plan after years of setbacks

The Galler chocolate brand suffered years of hardship: setbacks continue to pile up for the chocolatier, which was already on the verge of bankruptcy in 2018. It was then, that founder Jean Galler sold his last shares to the family of the Qatari sheikh family Al Thani. Since then, the Covid pandemic, inflation and the raw materials crisis have dealt further blows to the company. In 2021, the Vaux-sous-Chèvremont plant (near Chaudfontaine) was also devastated by flooding in the region.

To cope with the recent explosion in cocoa prices, the Belgian company is increasing its capital by 12.6 million euros. Galler has found support from existing shareholders, but the Walloon Region has also committed to the company. As a result, 49.6% of the shares are now held by Belgians, while the Qatari shareholder retains a 50.4% stake. This is considerably less than the 70% that the Qataris previously held.

At the same time, Galler is drawing up a recovery plan. Of the new capital, 7.5 million euros will be used to reduce the company’s debt, part of which stems from the flood of 2021. According to L’Echo, the chocolate brand will use the remaining 5.1 million euros to improve process efficiency, cope with rising cocoa prices and strengthen working capital. Galler also intends to continue its commitment to international expansion.

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