Chocolate maker, Lindt and Sprüngli, has reported an 11 per cent reduction in its first half operating loss, slightly beating market expectations of a larger loss.
The Kilchberg-based company said sales were up 5.2 per cent at SFr623.7 million ($373.5 million), while the operating loss narrowed to SFr15.8 million. Financial analysts had expected a six per cent rise in sales and a first-half operating loss off SFr16.7 million.
The pre-tax loss for the first six months of the year narrowed to SFr20.8 million from SFr24.1 million.
Lindt said the economic slowdown had not affected chocolate retail sales so far. It said the improvement for the full-year operating result should be in line with first-half figures.
"Based on our experience to date, Lindt and Sprüngli does not expect a substantial change in consumer sentiment in the major markets in the second half of 2001," the company said in a statement.
Lindt makes less than 40 per cent of its annual sales in the first-half of the year, which includes the important Valentine's Day and Easter chocolate dates. Christmas and cold winter weather in the second-half of the year boost chocolate sales.
Meanwhile the company still takes half of its fixed costs over the first six months of the year.
Lindt said the chocolate market remained characterised by excess capacity and further consolidation by retailers, which results in aggressive pricing by competitors.
swissinfo with agencies