European Cocoa-Bean Processing Dropped 6.2% in Fourth Quarter

European cocoa-bean processing fell 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter, bringing the 2012 total to a a seven-year low, according to the European Cocoa Association.

Grindings, a sign of demand, dropped to 327,982 metric tons in the three months through December, the lowest for the period since 2005, the Brussels-based industry group said in an e- mailed report today. The total for 2012 was 1.29 million tons, down 10 percent from 2011 and the lowest since 2005, according to the report.

The association gathered its figures from 21 companies including Nestle SA (NESN), the maker of Kit Kat chocolate bars.

To contact the reporter on this story: Isis Almeida in London at ialmeida3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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