Hotel Chocolat pays back customers who bought 'chocolate bonds'
Chocolatier Hotel Chocolat has repayed the £6.4 million of debt borrowed from its customers in the form of so-called chocolate bonds.
In 2010 and 2014, a subsidiary of the group called Chocolate Tasting Club issued two bonds which paid a return in the form of luxury boxes of chocolates or Hotel Chocolat Gift Cards. Proceeds from the bonds were invested in capital projects that supported the company's growth and developed cocoa sustainability projects in St Lucia and Ghana.
At inception, the net cash proceeds received for the bonds were recognised as a liability. Each year the cost value of the chocolates was recognised as an interest expense.
In a statement, Hotel Chocolat said: “The company would like to thank the bondholders for the important role they have played in the growth and development of Hotel Chocolat. The ongoing growth of the business has now increased operating cash generation to the extent that the board believes the continuation of the above growth and sustainability projects can now be funded using the group's available working capital.”
Hotel Chocolat said the bond proceeds had also contributed to the creation of 600 jobs in the UK, new store openings and capital investment in manufacturing.
Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: "Thanks to the support of our amazing Chocolate Bond-holders, we were able to invest in ethical cocoa, British manufacturing, create hundreds of jobs and then repay them in full, as planned."
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