TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The Lotte group said Monday it has reached an agreement to acquire Chocolaterie Guylian NV of Belgium, opening a gateway to the European market.
The deal will enable the group to benefit from the Belgian company's strong brand name in the premium boxed chocolate segment, it said.
Under the agreement, Tokyo-based confectioner Lotte Co. and South Korean group firm Lotte Confectionery Co. will buy all Guylian shares from its founding family for about 110 million euros or around 18 billion yen, Lotte group officials said.
Lotte will consider applying Guylian's production technology to its products and conducting joint procurement of ingredients with the maker of premium chocolates, they said.
The confectionary giant is also mulling whether to open ''Guylian Chocolate Cafes,'' which the Belgian premium chocolate maker has been operating on a trial basis in countries such as Belgium, in Japan, South Korea and China.
Lotte is aiming to increase Guylian's sales to about 20 billion yen over the next couple of years from around 13 billion yen currently.
Guylian will continue under its existing management team with the same management philosophy and strategy, retaining its employees and brand name.
In January, Lotte acquired cake store chain Ginza Cozy Corner Co.