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HAMBURG, May 2 (Reuters) - Swiss commodities trading group ECOM has received approval from German cartel authorities to purchase German cocoa grinder Euromar Commodities GmbH which declared insolvency in December, Euromar’s insolvency administrator said on Tuesday.
Production at Euromar’s plant at Fehrbellin near Berlin could resume in coming days, the administrator, Rolf Rattunde, said in a statement.
A sale contract for Euromar’s factory, equipment and site had been signed and approved by Euromar’s creditors in March but German cartel authorities had to approve the purchase.
“This contract has now been approved by the federal cartel office and so the final hurdle for the takeover has been removed,” Rattunde said.
ECOM is a supplier of commodities to chocolate manufacturers, coffee roasters and cotton mills, the company’s website says, with cocoa trading operations and processing plants in the Netherlands, Malaysia and Mexico.
Euromar had suffered liquidity problems caused by exchange rate fluctuations in the British pound, in which cocoa is traded in, and swings in cocoa prices.
U.S. parent company Transmar Commodity Group Ltd also filed for bankruptcy protection in December.
German traders estimate Euromar’s Fehrbellin cocoa grinding plant can crush 150 tonnes of beans a day, which with full 365- day production means around 54,700 tonnes a year. Germany grinds about 400,000 tonnes of cocoa annually.
Euromar’s problems were a factor causing a sudden fall in European cocoa grindings in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Euromar has never given official production figures.
Euromar had turnover of 980 million euros ($1.07 billion) in 2015, Rattunde said. ($1 = 0.9163 euros) (Reporting by Michael Hogan; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens)