Lotte subsidiary acquires Guylian in landmark chocolate industry deal – 23/06/08

SOUTH KOREA. In major breaking news for the confectionery sector, a subsidiary of South Korean retail-to-leisure giant Lotte is to acquire 100% of the shares of Chocolaterie Guylian NV (Guylian) and its subsidiaries.

Under the terms of the deal Guylian, one of the world’s leading brands of premium Belgian boxed chocolates, will partner with Lotte Confectionery Co Ltd, the Lotte Group’s publicly listed subsidiary specialising in confectionery.

Lotte said earlier today that the deal was worth €105 million (around US$163 million). The acquisition underlines Lotte’s determination to be a global leader across the various sectors in which it operates.

In a statement Guylian said: “Following completion of the agreement, Guylian will benefit from Lotte’s unequalled distribution in the fast-growing Asian confectionery markets and its know-how in sales, marketing and development of new products. In addition the Guylian brand will benefit from additional resources to strengthen further its distribution network and the network of Guylian Belgian Chocolate Cafés.

“The acquisition of Guylian will diversify Lotte’s existing confectionery business on a product, channel and geographic basis and will be Lotte’s gateway into the European markets together with the recently announced investment in Russia [the opening of a department store and airport duty free operation -Ed].

“Lotte will also benefit from Guylian’s strong brand name in the premium-boxed chocolate segment and its successful position in duty free worldwide.”

After completion of the agreement Guylian will continue under the existing management team with the same management philosophy and strategy. Lotte and the former family shareholders have agreed to continue to invest in Guylian’s state-of-the-art plant in Sint-Niklaas, management and employees, research and development and the Guylian brand name.

Guylian Managing Director Carl Krefting said: “The partnership with Lotte is an historic event and is in line with our strategy to make the next quantum leap in the confectionery industry and to take full advantage of the potential of the everyday confectionery market and the fast-growing Asian markets.

“On behalf of the Chairman and the members of the Board of Directors, the family shareholders would like to thank all Guylian employees for their valuable contribution to the growth of the group. I am very happy that we have found a new platform for growth for the company, which is of great importance to everyone in the Guylian team in Belgium and around the world.”

Lotte Confectionery President Sang-Hoo Kim commented: “We are very enthusiastic about our future partnership with Guylian. Our acquisition of Guylian makes our entry into the European premium chocolate market and is an important milestone in Lotte’s development as a truly global Group.”

Guylian has long enjoyed a powerful presence in duty free and travel retail. Export & Travel Retail Director Steven Candries told The Moodie Report today: “My position within the company remains the same… [though] the synergies that come up might give me a wider role.”

The agreement is subject to certain conditions, but both parties anticipate a smooth closing of the transaction. Lazard acted as sole financial advisor to the shareholders of Chocolaterie Guylian NV and Lotte was advised by Mizuho.


Guylian is one of the world’s leading brands of premium Belgian boxed chocolates, selling its chocolate creations into more than 100 countries. Guylian is best known for its original Belgian chocolate seashells – in dark, milk and white chocolate with hazelnut praliné filling. Today the company offers a broad range of boxed chocolates, individually wrapped premium everyday chocolates and luxury chocolate bars for sharing and self indulgence.


Lotte Confectionery is a member of Lotte Group, the fifth largest diversified business group in South Korea (and the owner of the country’s leading travel retailer, Lotte Duty Free).

Originally established as a confectionery company in Japan, Lotte has currently 44 subsidiaries with total group assets of €31 billion and net revenue of €23 billion in 2007. Lotte has extensive experience operating prominent franchises including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (26 stores), Natuur (180 ice cream specialty stores), TGI Friday’s (47 stores), Lotteria (744 fast food chains) and Angel-in-us (91 coffee shops).

Lotte also operates the most extensive retail network in South Korea: 25 department stores, 56 hypermarkets, 79 supermarkets, 1,750 convenience stores, seven duty free shops, 17 fashion outlets and six fashion/household goods stores.

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