Hotel Chocolat has acquired a beauty firm for less than its cheapest selection box, in a bid to expand its “cacao-powered” cosmetics range.
The luxury confectioner paid £4 to take control of Rabot 1745, which it set up as a joint venture with non-executive chairman Andrew Gerrie in 2016.
It also issued over 200,000 new shares to Gerrie, settling the £744,000 owed to him by Rabot.
The beauty business, which made a loss of £400,000 last year, was “inspired by the wild beauty of the group’s St Lucian cacao farm and rainforest spa”.
It sells a range of chocolate-themed products, from cacao and almond body oil to the “three shell” cacao, almond and coconut scrub.
Hotel Chocolat chief executive Angus Thirlwell told BBC News that Rabot was its “best-kept secret”.
He revealed that the confectioner would focus its beauty range on the Japanese market, having recently opened an outlet in Oita with a large space for cosmetics.
“Sales have been very encouraging,” he said.
“If we can meet those demands in Japan, we stand a great chance of being successful in other markets.”
The news comes after Hotel Chocolat was forced to issue refunds for multiple batches of chocolates over health fears.
In April, it failed to warn customers that its “ugly but good” bags contained macadamia nuts and hazelnuts.
Two weeks later, the company recalled its summer sleekster chocolates over a number of undeclared allergens, including egg, gluten and nuts.