From a sugar processing plant to an international group of companies
In 1826, Friedrich Theodor Meyer founded a small sugar processing plant in Tangermünde, in 1865 his sons Friedrich Theodor and Friedrich Hugo Meyer took the company over. They succeeded in increasing sales substantially and in 1882 started exporting to England and overseas as well.
By 1900, the sugar refinery was already processing 100,000 tons of raw sugar. The factory had warehouses, its own harbour and its own power plant. There was also a works hospital and other social amenities.
In 1903, the company started processing sugar as well. A tinned fruit factory was established and in 1910 the company began producing its own high-quality chocolates under the “Feodora” brand name. After a fire, that destroyed part of the plant in 1923, a modern cube sugar factory was set up on the same site.
In 1945, the Soviet occupying powers expropriated the Meyer family. The facilities were dismantled to a large extent.
A fresh start after World War 2
In 1949, the company was established again in Hamburg. As a reminder of the old family tradition, the company was given the name “Zuckerraffinerie Tangermünde Fr. Meyers Sohn GmbH”. However, the production of chocolate actually started in Bremen. A short while later this was supplemented by the acquisition of a stake in the Bremen-based chocolate factory Hachez, followed by the complete takeover in 1987. In 2000, the chocolate division of Hachez and Feodora was sold to the grandson of the Hachez founder by management buy-out.
Since the 1980’s the company has developed from manufacturer to holding company that supports its subsidiaries in the marketing and sales of its high-quality food products.
Establishment of the Zertus Group
The subsequent years were shaped by acquisition activities and by the endeavours to form a strong, forward-looking group of companies.
After being taken over in 1984, Importhaus Wilms was expanded to become the leading importer for delicatessen goods and confectionery.
In 1991, acquisition of the wafer factory Helmut Löser GmbH & Co. KG brought a specialist producer of flat and moulded wafers into the Group. Just a few years later, in 1999, Theodor Kattus GmbH entered the group and was then sold on to DF World of Spices GmbH in 2006. In 2002, Zuckerraffinerie Tangermünde Fr. Meyers Sohn GmbH was finally renamed Zertus GmbH.
Internationalization: the start of a new era
In 2002, Kalfany, the specialist in tinned candies, was taken over and then developed into an export-orientated company through the subsequent acquisitions of Pulmoll, Echt Sylter Brisen and Süße Werbung.
In 2005, Zertus established another mainstay with global player Dextro Energy. Dextro Energy has since become the world leader on the dextrose market and a prominent supplier of sports nutrition.
Through the takeover of the British stock-exchange-listed Zetar Group in 2012, Zertus became an Anglo-German corporation in one fell swoop. With its subsidiaries of Kinnerton and Lir, Zetar is the fourth largest chocolate supplier in Great Britain and the market leader for seasonal goods and also one of the most important suppliers of nuts and dried fruits by the company Humdinger.