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Bitter-sweet result for Barry Callebaut

Barry Callebaut obtains much of its cocoa from Ivory Coast Keystone

Despite higher sales Zurich-based Barry Callebaut, the world's leading chocolate maker, saw profit fall in the fiscal year 2004-2005.

This content was published on November 10, 2005 - 12:22

The firm announced on Thursday it had sold more than one million tonnes of cocoa- and chocolate products during the year.

While turnover remained constant, restructuring and other costs pushed net profit down by 41 per cent to SFr68.3 million ($52 million) from SFr115.6 million a year ago.

The firm is overhauling its consumer products unit, which has been suffering as a result of tough market conditions in Germany.

Despite a decision to discontinue some unprofitable lines, sales volume grew by more than four per cent in the year ending August to over one million tonnes, the chocolate producer said in a statement on Thursday.

It said that, excluding the one-off restructuring costs, operating profit before interest, tax and appreciation (EBITA) had increased 6.4 per cent to SFr278 million.

"Barry Callebaut has increased its operating results before restructuring expenses and impairment charges for the seventh year in a row," said CEO Patrick De Maeseneire.

Positive development

Analysts greeted the result as a sign of improvement in the troubled consumer products unit. In early morning trading shares in Barry Callebaut were up 4.8 per cent to SFr386 – a one-month high.

"Barry Callebaut has presented a strong fourth-quarter result and has shown significant improvement at the consumer products unit, which has so far been its problem child," Zurich Cantonal Bank analyst Daniel Buerki told Reuters.

Lower cocoa bean prices had had little impact on sales revenue, which was up 0.3 per cent to just over SFr4 billion, the company said.

"The price fluctuations in the raw material cocoa have no influence on our results," spokeswoman Gaby Tschofen told swissinfo. "We buy for our clients, but they bear the impact of price changes."

The company said its aim continued to be to grow twice as fast as the global chocolate market, helped by a move to generate more sales outside western Europe and North America.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world's biggest producer of high quality cocoa- and chocolate products.

It operates more than 30 production facilities in around 20 countries.

The company employs more than 8,000 workers.

It supplies cocoa- and chocolate products to major food concerns, chocolate-makers, bakers and shops.

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