Recession melts Bernard Callebaut

Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut has been forced into receivership.

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CALGARY — Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut has been forced into receivership.

His company, which operates 29 stores in Canada and two in the United States, blamed the move on the recession and how it impacted real-estate prices.

“As with many other businesses, the downturn in the economy left us holding real estate purchased at a premium price, that is now valued at a very deflated price,” the company said in a news release Tuesday.

“This circumstance underpins our situation and is the impetus for this very difficult decision.

“While this was certainly not an avenue Bernard chose . . . the company was forced into this action.”

Callebaut sells truffles and chocolates made in the Belgian tradition.

The flagship store, factory and corporate headquarters is in Calgary and has been in business since 1983.

Victor Kroeger, senior vice-president at Deloitte & Touche Inc., in Calgary, said the job of a receiver is to take possession of a company’s assets and convert them into cash to pay out creditors. If there’s anything left, the rest goes to shareholders.

He said it’s still very early in the process, but the plan is to sell the company.

“At this time we are continuing operations and we’re going to be running a sales program here shortly with the desire to have a relatively quick but good sale so that the new buyer can take advantage of the going-concern part of the company in time for Christmas sales.”