Retailer to launch "chocolate bonds" for sweet-toothed investors

A British chocolate retailer is set to offer "chocolate bonds" to its customers in order to raise cash for expansion.

Customers of upmarket chocolatier Hotel Chocolat will be able to buy a £2,000 (€2,318) bond that pays interest in chocolate - around £18 (€21) worth - every two months.

This equates to a yield of 6.7 percent, says British newspaper The Times.

The offer will be available to members of Hotel Chocolat's Tasting Club, who pay for regular deliveries of the brand's chocolates, with the company's co-founder Angus Thirlwell telling The Times "we would rather pay interest to our customers than a bank".

The scheme will be overseen by accountancy firm BDO Stoy Hayward, which operates a similar scheme for shaving brand King of Shaves, launched in 2009.

Under the King of Shaves scheme, now closed, consumers could purchase £1,000 (€1,159) bonds in return for a 6 percent return and free King of Shaves products for the duration of the three-year bond.

The firm aimed to raise £5 million (€5.79 million) with the scheme, to fund a marketing and brand awareness "war chest".

Although such products sound like a win-win deal for companies and the consumers that love them, financial analysts warned that the unlisted, unregulated and illiquid nature of the shaving bonds made them more of a "gamble than a savings opportunity".

http://www.hotelchocolat.com/

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