A CHOCOLATIER has confirmed it has raised £3.7million via its chocolate bonds and will now push ahead with expansion plans and the creation of up to 250 new jobs in Huntingdon.

A CHOCOLATIER has confirmed it has raised £3.7million via its chocolate bonds and will now push ahead with expansion plans and the creation of up to 250 new jobs in Huntingdon.

Hotel Chocolat's Chocolate Bond was available up until Monday (July 12) to its 100,000 Chocolate Tasting Club members - the return on the bonds will at first be paid in chocolate.

The funds will be used to create new jobs at the chocolate factory in Redwongs Way, expand overseas and set up an eco factory at its cocoa plantation in St Lucia.

Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and CEO, said: "We are thrilled with the phenomenal response from the Chocolate Tasting Club members to this innovative form of fund raising. The remarkable support we have received is a testament to the strength of the relationships we have been fortunate to enjoy with our customers since the establishment of The Chocolate Tasting Club 12 years ago.

"The idea for this Chocolate Bond was prompted by our customers asking how they could get more involved with the Company. We found a way of inviting them to invest in our development plans in exchange for a return paid in chocolate. And we have been bowled over by their response. We are now in a strong position to grow the business further using funds provided directly from our customers."

The first return to bondholders will be delivered in the form of a Chocolate Tasting Box in August.