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US company to set up chocolate unit in Kerala

Sankar Radhakrishnan

Thiruvananthapuram , April 25

AMES International Inc, a Seattle-based company that makes gourmet chocolates, cookies and roasted nuts, is setting up a manufacturing plant in Kerala.

The company's plant in Kerala will be located at the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation's small industries park at Muzhavannur in Ernakulam district, said Mr George Paulose, CEO, Ames International Inc.

The manufacturing plant in Ernakulam will be the company's first facility outside the US and will involve an initial investment of approximately Rs 1.25 crore, he told Business Line.

Ames International Inc also proposes to set up a separate company to manage its Indian operations, he added.

While the decision to set up a manufacturing facility in Kerala is part of the company's international expansion strategy, it is also an attempt to "give something back to my home State," Mr Paulose pointed out.

The company plans to use its Ernakulam facility as a base for entering markets like West Asia, he added. It may also look at introducing some of its products in the Indian market, he said.

Initially, the company's Ernakulam facility will produce roasted cashew nuts for export to West Asia, he said.

However, it will eventually produce the company's entire product range, Mr Paulose said.

The quality levels of the manufacturing facility in Kerala will match US standards, he emphasised.

The company is also exploring the possibility of making food products that leverage Kerala's resource base.

As part of its global expansion, the company is also looking at establishing a manufacturing base in China, he added.

Established in 1987, the privately owned company has several brands in various product categories such as chocolates, roasted nuts, chocolate-coated nuts and so on.

Recently, it ventured into retailing Indian teas under the `Teaosophy' brand.

This brand's uniqueness lies in the fact that it offers customers an opportunity to savour leaf teas in pyramid shaped `tea pods', Mr Paulose said.

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