Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Sweet success for 'chocolate' bonds

From Juliet Mann, CNN
updated 9:59 AM EDT, Fri August 24, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hotel Chocolate raised about $6.3 million by selling "chocolate bonds" to investors
  • The cash has been crucial to the business's ability to expand
  • British fast food chain Leon recently launched a similar mini bonds campaign

(CNN) -- A British chocolate company is tasting some sweet money-making success by selling "chocolate bonds" to its customers.

Hotel Chocolat's chief executive officer, Angus Thirlwell, launched a scheme in July 2010 that allowed investors to buy up to $6,000 worth of bonds during a six week period. The interest is paid in boxes of chocolates and the money invested will be paid out in July 2013.

According to the Bank of England, lending to small and medium sized businesses has been shrinking since 2009, but by selling their own bonds Hotel Chocolat raised about $6.3 million. The cash has been crucial to the business's ability to expand.

"We want to become better and better at being a chocolate maker. Now we are getting a machine for ultra fine chocolate cups that we can fill with fruit, whole nuts, ganache," Thirlwell said. "It is a multi-million pound investment which would not have been possible without the chocolate bond capital."

Hotel Chocolat isn't alone in its creative pitch for capital. Leon, the health conscious fast food chain, launched a similar mini bond scheme in July, which pays up to 15% interest in the form of "£eon pounds" -- not pounds sterling -- that can be spent in the store.

Jonathan Walmsley, from the Federation of Small Businesses, said such capital raising ventures are becoming increasingly poplar in Europe. "We certainly think it is potentially a viable means of finance -- it is much needed," he said. "We do need to be exploring alternative means of financing given that a lot of traditional bank financing has not been available for small firms," he said.

CNN's Stina Backer contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Marketplace Europe
updated 11:31 AM EST, Thu January 16, 2014
Marketplace Europe visits Latvia to see how the Baltic country has made its transition to the Euro from the Lat.
updated 11:30 AM EST, Thu January 16, 2014
CNN's Nina Dos Santos visits Latvia to speak to the country's outgoing Prime Minister and the prospects for the eurozone's 18th member.
updated 11:40 AM EST, Thu January 2, 2014
Malta is the gateway to Europe and on the frontline of the immigration flows. Isa Soares reports from a detention center on the Mediterranean island.
updated 11:41 AM EST, Thu January 2, 2014
CNN's Isa Soares speaks with people on the streets of Valletta who say their country can't cope with more migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
updated 5:06 AM EST, Thu January 9, 2014
Malta cannot afford to continue supporting migrants from war-torn countries in its over-crowded detention camps, the country's foreign minister has told CNN.
updated 4:23 PM EST, Thu December 26, 2013
Slow recoveries, bailouts, and youth unemployment. Richard Quest speaks to Europe's top CEOs about the issues of 2013.
updated 4:14 PM EST, Thu December 26, 2013
CNN's Richard Quest speaks to economist Bob Parker about defining moments of 2013 and about what to expect in 2014.
updated 1:15 PM EST, Thu December 5, 2013
Estonia is setting the pace for other European nations with a thriving economy and its tech industry, according to the Baltic nation's leader.
updated 2:03 PM EST, Thu December 5, 2013
The Baltic nation of Estonia is developing its oil shale energy reserves in a bid to become energy self-sufficient.
updated 4:25 AM EST, Fri November 29, 2013
Europe must stop being nationalistic if it wants to help a lost generation of workers, the regional boss of U.S. conglomerate General Electric says.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Thu November 14, 2013
Peer at the windows and you'll spot big colorful chairs, plastic plants and a huge bed, but this is no department store.
updated 5:06 AM EST, Tue November 19, 2013
There once was a time, many years ago, when the sounds of bagpipes struck fear into the stomachs of Englishmen.
updated 6:16 AM EST, Mon November 11, 2013
Greece is on the way to economic recovery as investor faith returns to the recession-ridden eurozone nation, an executive at Greece's largest bank has told CNN.
updated 7:00 AM EST, Fri November 8, 2013
Could Greece's famous spice help the country's farmers through a four-year long economic crisis.
updated 9:07 AM EDT, Fri November 1, 2013
One of the masterminds behind the euro says Europe would have suffered a far worse fate if the single currency had never been created.
updated 1:41 PM EDT, Thu October 31, 2013
Nina Dos Santos visits the Dutch city where the European treaty carrying the city's name came into force 20 years ago.
updated 11:10 AM EDT, Fri October 25, 2013
As Spain continues its drive to slash budgets and cut spending, one of the nation's favorite pastimes is under threat as ministers look for ways to boost productivity.
updated 12:17 PM EDT, Thu October 24, 2013
The high commissioner of Brand Spain talks about getting the country back on its fee and attracting business.
ADVERTISEMENT