A Maitre Chocolatier of Swiss chocolatier Lindt & Spruengli poses behind a pot of liquid chocolate.

Geneva - Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli says it is buying US manufacturer Russell Stover Candies for an undisclosed sum.

Lindt chief executive Ernst Tanner said Monday that the purchase provides “a unique opportunity for us to expand our North American chocolate business.”

The company says the deal will make it the No. 3 chocolate manufacturer in North America.

Russell Stover, which also owns the Whitman's brand, is based in Kansas City, Missouri, and has four factories - in Kansas, Texas and Colorado.

It has about 2,700 employees and annual sales of around $500 million. - Sapa-AP