Divine Chocolate, the farmer-owned chocolate company, has merged its UK and USA businesses.

Kuapa Kokoo, the farmers’ co-operative in Ghana that voted to set up a chocolate company back in 1997, will own 44% of the merged company.

Divine Chocolate’s MD in the UK Sophi Tranchell will take the role of CEO, with the newly merged board will be meeting for the first time in Washington DC this week.

“Having launched Divine in the USA nine years after the founding company launched in the UK, it has been very exciting to see it successfully navigate all the challenges in the USA market and mirror the success of Divine in the UK. We have seen a growing appetite around the world for business being done differently,” Tranchell said.

“The new structure strengthens the group, making us more resilient and giving us a wider consumer reach, and in doing so gives Divine more power to deliver our mission to fairly and sustainably remunerate smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa, as well as empowering them to take their future into their own hands.”

Divine Chocolate Ltd in the UK has acquired the 69% of Divine Chocolate in the US that was in other ownership through a mutually agreed share swap to now own 100% ownership of the Divine Chocolate Inc.

Divine’s finance director David Upton added: “Merging the businesses brings many benefits at this point in the company’s growth. We will be sharing best practice and be in a position to hedge our foreign exchange risk in both the US and the UK. The potential in the US is really exciting, and we will be focussing on continuing to deliver strong profitable growth.”

Divine Chocolate Ltd’s 2013-14 turnover was £8.3m and Divine Chocolate Inc’s 2013-14 turnover was $6.1m.

Divine Chocolate also distributes across Scandinavia, Netherlands, France, Czech Republic, South Korea, Japan and Australia.