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Profit sweetens Lindt & Sprüngli result

Profits were up at chocolate makers Lindt & Sprüngli in 2008, as the company increased its world market share.

Despite an increasingly tough sales environment, the company made a net profit of SFr261.5 million ($220.5 million), up 4.4 per cent on 2007, it announced in a statement issued on Tuesday.

The chocolate industry had to face not only a downturn in consumer mood, but also volatile raw material prices and currency fluctuations, the company pointed out.

Nevertheless, Lindt and its subsidiary Ghirardelli were again the fastest growing chocolate brand in the United States. Lindt also achieved good growth rates in Canada and eastern and northern Europe.

But the financial crisis hit other markets, including Britain, Italy and Spain where a number of important distribution channels ran into difficulties and some went bankrupt, affecting Lindt's business there.

The company warned that the general economic situation would worsen in 2009, and that it would have to take relevant measures to support long-term growth in turnover and profit. This would include boosts for markets with high growth potential, in particular in the US.

It said it expected a growth of two to five per cent in 2009, well below its long term objective of six to eight per cent.

Lindt shares fell eight per cent on the Swiss stock exchange after the announcement of the results.

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