Today, Puratos Group and Grand-Place® Holding, two international groups active in the B2B supply of raw materials and ingredients to the food industry, have signed a joint venture agreement in Vietnam, due to be in effect as of January 2013. The signing marks the start of a joint venture that will support the growth of both Groups in the region. During an official signing ceremony, which took place today at the Grand-Place factory in Binh Duong, Puratos Group and Grand-Place® Holding signed a joint venture agreement (70% Puratos – 30% Grand-Place) to join forces on the Vietnamese market and within the region. The joint venture, known as Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam, represents a total investment of 10 million US Dollars over a five-year period into three different lines of business; namely, bakery, patisserie and chocolate. The investment will support the increase in production capacity of both Groups, as well as the construction of a new distribution centre in Binh Duong to improve logistics and service for the entire market. In addition, there will be a new R&D and Innovation Center to service local customers. The two Groups, who both have their roots in Belgium, confirm their long-term commitment to the Vietnamese market. Both made their first investment in Vietnam some ten years ago, when the market was still fairly small and uncertain. The joint venture will also initiate an ambitious vertical integration project – from locally grown cocoa beans to chocolate drops – by turning the existing Grand-Place® collection and fermentation pilot station into an industrial plant. As a result of this, the joint venture will become one of the major players for the use and promotion of Vietnamese cocoa beans.