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A sample of liquid cocoa product, heated to 65 degrees celsius, sits in a test tray after collection from a storage tank at the new Transmar Group plant which makes cocoa products for Russian chocolate makers in Ozery, Russia, on Wednesday, March 30, 2016.

(bloomberg)

(Bloomberg) -- The family owners of Blommer Chocolate Co. are considering a sale that could value the company at about $500 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is working with an investment bank to look at options, including a sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. The business is attracting interest from at least one European strategic acquirer and private equity firms, one of the people said.

“As a very successful family business and a leader in our industry, we regularly receive inbound interest in our company,” Chief Executive Officer Peter Blommer said in an emailed statement. “We are continuously looking at a variety of options that can accelerate our growth strategy given the tremendous global opportunities in our industry.”

Chicago-based Blommer is one of the last large independent chocolate and cocoa manufacturers. The industry has been consolidating in recent years with Singapore-based Olam International Ltd. buying Archer-Daniels-Midland Co.’s cocoa business for $1.2 billion in 2015 and Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut AG buying Petra Foods for $950 million in 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company, a third-generation family business, was founded by Henry Blommer Sr. and two brothers in 1939. Blommer has been expanding in recent years, with a $40 million acquisition of a plant in Jinshan, China, in 2016 and the introduction of new brand Founders Reserve in May this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Kiel Porter in New York at kporter17@bloomberg.net;Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Elizabeth Fournier at efournier5@bloomberg.net, ;Lynn Thomasson at lthomasson@bloomberg.net, Michael Hytha, Josh Friedman

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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