US-based chocolate and confectionery major Hersheys and the Godrej Group have called off their joint venture in India following management differences in running the entity. At a recent board meeting, both sides mutually agreed to call off the partnership following which Hersheys will sell its 51% stake to Godrej Consumer Products Ltd (GCPL) for an undisclosed amount. Lazard Capital will handle the deal which marks the end of the JV signed in 2007.
Investment banking officials said the Godrej Group was impatient with the slow progress of the 450-crore Godrej Hersheys at a time other consumer goods marketers have been recording good growth in the chocolates category. Four years into the venture, the US company did not progress beyond introducing its popular chocolate syrup, which was launched in 2008. In contrast, Godrej had contributed a number of brands, including the acquisition of Nutrine in 2006. The joint venture also had a beverage range all from Godrej which includes fruit drinks, juices and soya milk.