The Swiss firm said today it signed an agreement to take over the Food Processing International (FPI) site, which has a factory in Philadelphia with a 25,000 metric ton capacity for cocoa liquor. Barry Callebaut said it will finish the deal later this month and intends to increase the production capacity of the factory to 50,000 metric tons within the next two to three years. This boost in production will meet the firm's growing need for semi-finished products as well as to supply third-party customers, it said. The move will undoubtedly boost the European firm's beachhead in North America, and pave the way for further expansion. Chief Executive Patrick De Maeseneire said: "We are investing in cocoa operations because the taste and the quality of chocolate are already defined at this early processing stage. "We need a modern site for the production of semi-finished products such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cocoa powder in the United States to keep up with the current and future expectations of our customers especially in the high-end quality segment, as well as our own internal needs." The capacity expansion will include adding pressing, grinding and deodorizing equipment to make cocoa butter and cocoa powder. Barry Callebaut will spend €37.3m (CHF 62m) on the deal, which also includes the expansion costs. The group has cocoa factories in France, Italy, Belgium, the UK, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Brazil, Canada and the US. A spokesperson said: "Barry Callebaut has a good factory footprint for cocoa processing with a balance between origin countries and enough production capacity close to its customers in consuming countries." This summer Barry Callebaut said it will boost its cocoa processing capacity in Ivory Coast by 50 per cent over the next two years and double the amount of beans it buys. This expansion forms part of the company's strategy of taking advantage of the chocolate industry's increased demands for outsourced production and follows supply deals with Nestle and other confectionery giants. At the beginning of the year Barry Callebaut reported strong sales for first quarter of fiscal year 2006/07. Sales volume for the first three months of fiscal year 2006/07 ended November 30, 2006 was up organically by 5.7 per cent to 316,506 tonnes, while sales revenue increased 3.6 per cent to €74gm (CHF 1,241.7m).