Chocolate. The Chocolat Poulain factory, which has existed since 1848, is to be closed


One of the oldest chocolate factories in the world is to be closed. The Chocolat Poulain factory, existing since 1848, currently employs 109 people. Everyone is going to lose their job. The plan to liquidate the factory is expected to be announced on Thursday.

The issue of the factory's liquidation was on the agenda of the extraordinary socio-economic committee (CSE). The meeting is scheduled for Thursday. 109 people are to lose their jobs.

The news revealed by “La Nouvelle République” caused shock in the local community, where Poulain's story began over 170 years ago. It was in Blois in 1848 that Victor-Auguste Poulain, a young confectioner, introduced Poulain chocolate. Only in 1991 the factory was moved to Villebarou, a few kilometers from the city.

To justify the closure project, the company cites the failure of “efforts made to find an industrial solution that could preserve the operation of the facility.” – Volumes have been falling for a year, but not enough to threaten the company, Tony Anjoran, a delegate of the CGT trade union operating at the plant, told AFP.

Difficult situation on the chocolate market

The Poulain brand belonged to Mondelez for many years, but in 2017 it was bought by the investment company Eurazeo and merged with Malabar, Krema, Vichy and Rochers Suchard under the name Carambar & Co. The group employs over a thousand employees.

As indicated by the “LesEchos” daily, the turnover of the Carambar & Co group is currently estimated at EUR 400 million, of which 60 percent applies to confectionery products and 40 percent chocolate.

However, profitability has declined in the face of intense competition in the sector with giants such as Nestlé, Milka, Côte d'Or and Lindt. The group also has to face rising costs of energy, sugar and, above all, cocoa. At the end of March, for the first time in history, the price per tonne of cocoa exceeded PLN 9,000. dollars, compared to less than 4.2 thousand dollars at the beginning of the year. The reason is, among others, lack of grains due to bad weather conditions.

Manufacturers were able to pass on some, but not all, of their costs, depending on the sector. According to experts, last year the prices of chocolate bars, the largest consumers of which are the French, increased by about 10%. In the first quarter, prices rose again sharply due to growth cocoa prices.

At Blois, management said it was “determined to support each of the 109 employees in their search for a new job.”

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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