The gap in sales between Mars Inc., the No. 1 company on Candy Industry's Top 100 list of confectionery manufacturers, and the 100th company is $7.515 billion dollars. Ok, maybe that comparison isn't fair. Moving further up the list, the gap between Mars and the 25th manufacturer is $7.144 billion.
Somehow those numbers don't seem to be that different. The message is: The upper
The merger activity in 2002 fittingly built to a crescendo in December with the announcement of Cadbury Schweppes sweeping Pfizer's Adams division off its feet--for a tidy sum of $4.2 billion. But the big boys were buying even prior to that: Nestle nabbed Brazil's Garoto back in February giving the multi-national a 50% share of the Brazilian candy market; Barry Callebaut captured German chocolate giant Stollwerk in May; Mars took over Mexican candy maker Lucas World last winter; and, pre-Adams, Cadbury Sehweppes acquired a 51% interest in Turkey's leading candy manufacturer Kent Gida Maddeleri.
Difficult for businesses like Yugoslavia's Pionir Ltd. (No. 100 on the list) to match that kind of firepower. Deals like Concord Confections' purchase of American Candy Co.'s Selma, Ala., processing facility or Sherwood Brands' buy of Asher Candy pale in comparison. Even a major deal like Gosinkor Holdings merging the two candy companies in which it held a controlling interest--Rot Front and Krasny Oktyabr--into a single unit called United Confectioners puts it in the middle of the pack. And at year-end, Gosinkor was attempting to add major Russian manufacturer Babayevsky to the mix. Such a move would make United Confectioners the No. 21 candy maker in the world--only $7.084 billion behind Mars.
To the major players in the business, competition from the rest of the bunch is probably starting to feel like so much gum stuck to the sole of their shoes.
Editor's note: This year's Top 100 list continues Candy Industry's mission to bring you the most accurate accounting of the global confectionery business. As stated in last year's report, sales numbers are becoming increasingly guarded--even in public companies--and any such listing remains a work in progress. The data here is based on information procured via annual reports, newspapers, magazines, company Web sites, analyst interviews, questionnaires faxed or e-mailed to key executives, and estimates from the editorial staff. Candy Industry welcomes any input that could improved next year's accounting. Please contact the magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org to update data and/or include companies that were overlooked for next year's listing.