Cargill boosts chocolate making despite looming global bean deficit

Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:39pm EST
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* Cargill to spend $48 million on chocolate plant expansion

* Europe processes 40 pct of the world's cocoa beans

NEW YORK Dec 16 (Reuters) - Cargill, one of the world's top cocoa dealers, is doubling capacity at one of its Belgian chocolate production factories to meet growing demand, the company said on Monday, despite expectations of a global bean deficit.

Cargill will spend $48 million to expand its chocolate making facility in Mouscron, Belgium, over the next two years to meet growing demand in Europe. New production lines are set to be operational in summer 2014, the company said in a release.

The capacity of the Belgian plant, one of two owned by the company there according to its website, was not provided.

Cargill is one of the four so-called "ABCD" companies that dominate the flow of global agricultural commodities and is one of the biggest buyers of cocoa with bean operations spanning Europe, West Africa, Asia, the United States and Brazil.