The Wittamer family has sold the luxury patissier and chocolate maker of the same name to a French-Belgian investor trio. The price of the transaction is not known. Paul Wittamer (77) and his niece will remain at the helm of the studio.
Until now, Wittamer was a top family business. The 111-year-old family and internationally renowned pastry-chocolatier has been in the hands of brother and sister Paul and Myriam Wittamer, two of the third generation of the founding family, since 2007. They took over in 2007 after the death of their father. As the only son of founder Henri Wittamer, he had taken over the business in 1955.
‘My sister wanted to leave the executive board as soon as possible,’ says Paul Wittamer. He himself does not disappear completely from view. He continues to run the studio together with his cousin Lesley. There is no term attached to this.
Wittamer had been courted for years by potential acquirers. But the family held back. Until now. She eventually passes the keys to the company to three investors she has known for a long time. The three are Jean-Claude Marian (founder of the French nursing home group Orpea, a French naturalized Belgian), Carlos De Meester (specialized in the development of luxury real estate) and the French Christophe Hureaux (investment company HiPi). The three have been working together for years through the real estate developer Inside Development and last year together they baptized the Inside Investment Fund.
The new owners want to grow the Wittamer brand both in Belgium and abroad without affecting the DNA of the products.
Hureaux becomes the new Chief Executive Officer of the luxury pâtissier. The new owners want to grow the Wittamer brand both in Belgium and abroad without affecting the DNA of the products.
Purveyor to the Court
The luxury patissier-chocolatier, purveyor to the court since 2000, has a turnover of approximately 4 million euros and about fifty employees in Belgium. The Wittamer shop at the Sablon in Brussels is the company’s flagship, but the pastry chef’s products are also sold in the luxury department store Rob (Woluwe), the Grande Epicerie (Uccle) and in the shops of the Villa Lorraine restaurant. Wittamer has also been present in Japan for several decades and has 24 stores, which are operated by franchisees.
But Wittamer first looks for a bigger place for his studio. ‘We are looking for a building of 1,000 to 1,500 square meters in or around Brussels,’ says Hureaux. In the workshop of Wittamer, young fellows who have become Belgian chocolate ambassadors, such as Pierre Marcolini and Marc Debailleul, were once at work.