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Barry Callebaut issues sweet figures

Don't count the calories...just the profit Keystone

The world’s biggest chocolate maker, Barry Callebaut of Zurich, has reported that sales for its full fiscal year topped a record SFr4 billion ($3.38 billion).

Barry Callebaut said that despite a difficult economic environment, it expected to grow twice as fast as the global chocolate market.

The company said in a statement that its net profit for the year ended August 31 increased by 12 per cent to SFr115.6 million.

Sales volume rose by 13.5 per cent to more than a million tons.

Both sales revenue and volume figures were partly influenced by the first-time consolidation of the Luijckx and Brach’s companies – both of which were acquired by Barry Callebaut in 2003.

“It gives me great satisfaction to see that we have achieved an organic volume growth of 4.4 per cent in a global market that grew only one per cent,” said chief executive Patrick De Maeseneire in a statement.

Cost leadership

“We had a strong fourth quarter in all our businesses and markets, including the Consumer Products Europe business unit,” he added.

“Cost leadership, together with innovation, is the basis for profitable growth in a highly competitive environment.”

Operating profit rose by 9.4 per cent to SFr228.3 on 13.4 per cent higher sales of SFr4.05 billion.

The company said that instead of paying a dividend to its shareholders, it proposed reducing its share capital by cutting the nominal value of its shares to SFr92.2 from SFr100.

In its outlook, Barry Callebaut was upbeat, despite the current market situation.

“We believe that the environment for the current fiscal year will be rather difficult given that the European economy is not picking up to the extent predicted by economists, and economic growth in the US is slowing down,” said De Maeseneire.

Twice as fast

“Barry Callebaut wants to continue growing twice as fast as the global chocolate markets,” he added.

De Maeseneire said that with the introduction of a new strategy across all business units that would give cost leadership, and enable the company to explore new geographic opportunities and react to consumer demand, the chocolate maker was “well positioned” to generate strong, profitable growth in the years ahead.

On Thursday, Barry Callebaut also reported that its three factories in Ivory Coast, which had been closed since last Sunday because public transport had been interrupted and staff could not get to work, were now in operation.

Barry Callebaut has been present in Ivory Coast since 1968 and has managed similar situations before, the statement said.

swissinfo with agencies

Business Year 2003/2004:

Sales revenue: SFr4.05 billion (+13.4%).
Net profit: SFr115.6 million (+12 %).
Operating profit: SFr228.3 (+9.4 %).

Barry Callebaut had annual sales of more than SFr4 billion for the fiscal year 2003/2004.

It is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of cocoa, chocolate and confectionery products – from the coca bean to the finished product on the store shelf.

It operates more than 30 production facilities in 22 countries and employs about 9,000 people.

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