Barry Callebaut posts upturn in net profits

Swiss-based Barry Callebaut has reported an increase in net profit for the first six months of the 2017/2018 financial year, up 21.7% to CHF 173 million (€145.9m).

The global chocolate and cocoa production group also confirmed an 8% sales volume increase for the period, to 1,022,565 tonnes, though sales revenue fell 1.8% to CHF 3.5 billion (€2.96 bn), which was attributed to lower cocoa and raw material prices.

Gross profits were up 15.5% to CHF 553m, with notable growth in a number of activities of the business, including gourmet and specialties (up 7.1%, outsourcing (8.1%), and emerging markets recording an 11% upturn.

The figures come in the wake of the company’s launch of its flagship ruby chocolate last autumn for the Asian market, with the company recently opening it up to European customers with a launch in Belgium for artisan chefs.

There have also been a number of structural additions to the business, including the acquisition of specialties and decoration company D’Orsogna Dolciaria, and Gertrude Hawk Ingredients in the US, which has expanded its overall operations.

In terms of innovation, the company has also launched sugar-reduced product ranges, which it said had attracted strong interest from customers.

As the company explained to Confectionery Production at ISM in Cologne in January, the launch of its sensory language and tasting ritual inspired by the wine trade, had also enabled it to bring enhanced focus to its product range.

In addition, the business reported significant sales volume increases for the EMEA region, up 9.6% to 471,120 tonnes, and a corresponding rise of 5.5% for the Americas to 265,904 tonnes, with Brazil, Mexico and Canada reported to have performed well.

CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique welcomed the overall results, noting a positive pattern of growth.

He said: “We had a very strong performance in the first six months of the current fiscal year, which was supported by all product groups and regions, as well as our key growth drivers. This resulted in the continued improvement of our profitability, driven by a favorable mix, operational leverage and a more supportive market.”

Looking ahead, he added: “We continue to see healthy market dynamics. We have good visibility in our portfolio and together with the diligent execution of our ‘smart growth’ strategy, we feel confident to deliver on our 4-year guidance.”

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