Chocolate giant The Hershey Co. today said that it has no announcements regarding its business in India, despite the Economic Times of that country again reporting that Hershey would buy out its joint venture partners and go it alone there.
“The (Economic Times) story is speculation. We do not comment on rumors or speculation. India is a key focus market for The Hershey Company, and we have no announcements regarding our business in India,” Hershey spokesman Jeff Beckman wrote in an email.
The Economic Times reported Monday that Hershey would buy out the minority share of Godrej Industries — also known as Godrej Group — in the joint venture. Hershey owns 51 percent of the joint venture, Godrej Hershey Ltd., which has introduced Hershey products to the world’s second-most-populous country. The companies entered the partnership in 2007 as Hershey looked to expand its global presence, particularly in large developing nations with growing middle classes, such as India.
Hershey recently registered a new subsidiary called Hershey Confectionery India, according to the Economic Times story. It also quotes an unnamed Godrej Hershey executive saying the deal will be done as soon as the companies agree on price. The Economic Times reported something similar last year, saying the joint venture was on the rocks.
Hershey also announced that President and CEO John P. Bilbrey, as well as the company’s Global Leadership Team, will hold a live webcast at 9 a.m. Monday to discuss the company’s growth strategies with investors.
“The call on Monday will be broadly about our global growth strategies, including our focus on a number of key emerging markets,” Beckman said.