Hotel Chocolat has raised £3.7m via the issue of the UK’s first-ever ‘chocolate bond’.

The confectioner will use the cash to fund a new ‘eco factory’ in St Lucia, as well as improvements to the company’s existing Cambridgeshire production facility.

Up to 400 UK jobs will be created by expanding the factory and adding new Hotel Chocolat retail outlets.

“We are thrilled with the phenomenal response from The Chocolate Tasting Club members to this innovative form of fund raising,” said Hotel Chocolat founder and chief executive Angus Thirlwell.

“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 company had planned to collect up to £5m via the bond, which will see investors repaid on a monthly basis via deliveries of chocolate.

“We are now in a strong position to grow the business further using funds provided directly from our customers,” Thirlwell added.

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