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Hershey's eyes India; to invest $50M in 5 years

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MUMBAI: The confectionary industry has emerged as one of the largest and well-developed food processing sectors of India. With international companies coming in and a stiff competition within Indian players to create a space for themselves, it is at an interesting juncture.

Amidst all this, US confectionary giant The Hershey Co has announced that it will invest $50 million in India over the next five years to focus on growing and expanding their presence in India. “India is one of our key International focus markets and we are investing to build this important business,” says Hershey India chairman and managing director Praveen Jakate.

India has emerged as the fastest growing market for the company, according to its recently announced its Q3 2017 global earnings and revenue. Hershey India recorded a strong double digit constant currency net sales growth, according to a statement from the company. As per the company’s Q3 2017 results, the constant currency net sales for Brazil in the third quarter increased by 3.3 per cent, while Mexico registered a net sales increased by 10 per cent. India outnumbered and recorded a net sales and growth of 16 per cent.

Hershey’s sells 11 brand in India, including Hershey’s chocolate syrup, milkshake and chocolate almond spreads, along with Sofit soya milk and Jumpin juice, which it acquired from an erstwhile joint venture with Godrej Industries.

The company plans to focus most of its investments now in brands owned by The Hershey Co. rather than in those brought from the joint venture, Jakate.

“Our transition of the Indian portfolio is enabling a higher margin business, and we are on track to expand gross margins here by 1,000 basis points in 2017,” says Hershey chief financial officer Patricia A Little.

In India, Hershey faces competition in the chocolate confectionary market from Mondelez, Mars, Snickers and Nestle.

Market research firm Euromonitor expects the Indian market to grow at an 8 per cent compounded annual growth rate to be worth Rs16,000 crore by 2021.

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