San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Business

Dos Pinos acquires candy maker Gallito

Costa Rica’s dairy cooperative Dos Pinos announced Wednesday that it was acquiring the iconic candy brand Gallito and its factory in Costa Rica, saving it from closure.

Gallito candies and chocolates have been a fixture of Costa Rican piñatas for more than 100 years.

The current owner of Gallito, Illinois-based Mondelēz International, said in May that it would close its Costa Rica plant and relocate the operation to Mexico. The move would have meant the dismissal of the company’s 300 employees in Heredia province.

Half of those jobs have already disappeared, as Mondelēz moved its drink mix and gelatin operations to Mexico.

Juan Ignacio Muñoz, Mondelēz’s director of operations in Costa Rica, said the company is fully aware of how much Gallito represents for Costa Rica and is pleased that the factory here will remain open.

The 107-year-old Gallito company currently employs 150 employees. Dos Pinos General Manager Gonzalo Chaves said all the employees here are already part of Dos Pinos’ staff.

The acquisition is currently in the works and Chaves said the process would be completed by December 1.

Francisco Gamboa, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Industries, said he is very pleased with the news as Gallito products “which are in the hearts of all Ticos, will continue to be manufactured here.”

Gamboa also said “it is a relief and a source of joy that the jobs of the Gallito plant will remain in the country.”

Mondelēz will also maintain here a shared services center for its Central America operations that currently employs 320 people in Santa Ana, west of San José. The center provides support in information technology, human resources and other administrative services.

Dos Pinos keeps expanding

Earlier this year, Dos Pinos General Manager Chavez publicly reported that the company had plans to diversify its business with more product lines, mostly in the food sector.

The acquisition of Gallito represents the third expansion this year for Dos Pinos.

In June, the company bought a dairy plant in Nicaragua and in September it acquired Bebidas Mixtas de Centroamérica, a soft drink and juice manufacturer located in Heredia province.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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