The Swiss chocolate manufacturer Lindt & Sprüngli has reported a net profit of SFr76.2 million ($44.3 million) for the year 2000, an increase of 9.3 per cent over the previous year.
Sales increased by 6.7 per cent to SFr1.537 billion, much above the market average, according to a statement on Tuesday from company headquarters at Kilchberg near Zurich.
It added that the United States, with its two subsidiaries Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc. and Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, had become the most significant market for the group in terms of sales in the year 2000.
The group said that the above-average growth rates in the US market in recent years, coupled with the acquisition of Ghirardelli, had substantially improved the Lindt & Sprüngli market position.
In the business year under review, the group's operating result increased by 10.4 per cent to SFr143.8 million, growing more strongly than sales.
The company's figures include extraordinary expenditures of SFr3 million arising from the sales of Ghirardelli's manufacturing plant in Kenosha (Wisconsin).
The board of directors is proposing that shareholders approve an increase in dividend to SFr80 (1999 - SFr72) per registered share and SFr8 per participation certificate.
swissinfo with agencies