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DGAP-Adhoc: Lindt & Sprüngli has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Russell Stover Candies, Inc., USA

Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG  / Key word(s): Acquisition

14.07.2014 07:30

Release of an ad hoc announcement pursuant to Art. 53 KR

Lindt & Sprüngli


Rapid expansion continues at Lindt & Sprüngli:
Lindt & Sprüngli has reached a definitive agreement to purchase
Russell Stover Candies, Inc., USA, and broadens its brand portfolio
 in the world's biggest chocolate marketplace

*  Biggest and most important strategic acquisition in the company's
*  Russell Stover/Whitman's perfectly complements Lindt & Sprüngli's
   US chocolate portfolio
*  Lindt & Sprüngli now Number 3 chocolate manufacturer in North American
*  Extended brand portfolio strengthens Lindt & Sprüngli's relationship
with the trade
*  Stronger base to pursue further growth

Kilchberg (CH)/Kansas City (USA), July 14, 2014 - The Lindt & Sprüngli
Group, manufacturer of premium quality chocolate worldwide, is to acquire
the traditional US family business Russell Stover Candies, Inc.
headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri. This will greatly complement Lindt
& Sprüngli's existing premium chocolate portfolio in the world's biggest
chocolate marketplace.

Russell Stover was founded in 1923 in Denver and soon focused on the
manufacture of top quality gift pralines, a product which ranks highly in
the US chocolate tradition. In 1993, Russell Stover acquired the Whitman's
brand which was founded in 1842 and is one of the country's oldest names in
chocolate. Today, Russell Stover/Whitman's is a leading manufacturer of
pralines and seasonal candies in North America. Russell Stover/Whitman's
makes chocolate products at four production sites. Its latest turnover
stood at around USD 500 million.

This biggest and most important strategic acquisition in the company's
history will give Lindt & Sprüngli an established presence throughout the
addition of the Russell Stover and Whitman's brands perfectly complements
Lindt & Sprüngli's existing chocolate portfolio and will make the company
the Number 3 North American chocolate manufacturer.

Ernst Tanner, Chairman of the Lindt & Sprüngli Board of Directors and Group
CEO, comments: "This biggest and most important strategic acquisition to
date in Lindt & Sprüngli's history is a unique opportunity for us to expand
our North American chocolate business and will greatly enhance the group's
status in the world's biggest overall chocolate marketplace."

The Lindt & Sprüngli Group will now expand its already strong and dynamic
U.S. chocolate portfolio with the addition of a variety of products from
Russell Stover/Whitman's, including gift pralines, chocolates for St.
Valentine's Day - one of the most important chocolate gifting occasions in
the USA - Easter and Christmas, as well as sugar-free chocolates. With the
Russell Stover/Whitman's brand portfolio, Lindt & Sprüngli will
significantly strengthen its leading position in the chocolate industry and
will become the Number 3 chocolate manufacturer in North America. As an
increasingly important strategic and growth-oriented partner, Lindt &
Sprüngli will also greatly strengthen its relationship with the retail

Like Lindt and Ghirardelli, Russell Stover/Whitman's takes great pride in
manufacturing high quality candies, which are a gift of choice not only at
the holidays, but year round. With some 2,700 employees, the Russell Stover
Group reports annual sales of around USD 500 million. Its headquarters have
been in Kansas City, Missouri, for over 80 years. The company operates four
chocolate factories in Kansas (2), Texas (1) and Colorado (1). All the
Russell Stover Candies, Inc. brands are very popular and distributed
throughout the USA. In addition, the company runs a chain of some 35
proprietary retail outlets, mostly in the central US States.

The Lindt & Sprüngli Group's acquisition of Russell Stover Candies, Inc. is
regarded by Ernst Tanner and Thomas S. Ward, President, CEO and co-owner of
Russell Stover, as a perfect strategic "fit" with great potential for the
future in the dynamic and growing chocolate business. Maintaining the
headquarters of Russell Stover in Kansas City and ongoing improvements of
the existing production sites are a clear commitment to continuity and
local manufacturing.

Lindt & Sprüngli is financing the acquisition through net cash resources
and bank loans and expects the transaction to make a strong positive
contribution to the earnings per share from 2015 onwards. It has been
agreed not to disclose the purchase price and other contractual details.

In 1992, before the present Group Management took responsibility for the
group of companies, Lindt & Sprüngli achieved a turnover of some CHF 30
million in North America. This new strategic acquisition means the group
will pass the USD 1.5 billion turnover mark in North America in 2015 where
it is set to be the fastest growing chocolate corporation. The acquisition
of Russell Stover/Whitman's clearly signals Lindt & Sprüngli's intention to
improve its market position in North America and further enhances the
significant contribution which it already makes to the dynamic growth of
the premium chocolate segment.

About Lindt & Sprüngli: As the global leader in the premium chocolate
sector, Lindt & Sprüngli looks back on a long standing tradition of almost
170 years which takes its origins in Zurich, Switzerland. Today, quality
chocolate products by Lindt & Sprüngli are made at eight own production
sites in Europe and the USA. They are distributed by numerous subsidiary
companies and branch offices and also via a comprehensive network of
independent distributors all over the world. With some 9,000 employees, the
Lindt & Sprüngli Group reported sales worth around CHF 2.88 billion in

Media contact
Tel. +41 44 716 24 56/57/86

Investor Relations contact
Tel. +41 44 716 25 37

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Language:               English
Company:                Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG
                        Seestrasse 204
                        8802 Kilchberg
Phone:                  + 41 44 716 25 37
Fax:                    + 41 44 716 26 60
ISIN:                   CH0010570759, CH0010570767
Valor:                  1057075, 1057076
Listed:                 SIX

End of Announcement                             EQS Group News-Service


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