Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli has posted an 88 per cent drop in first-half net profit and said it saw a depressed demand for chocolate.
Profit over the first six months of 2009 fell to SFr2.7 million ($2.55 million), which was nevertheless above the average estimate in a Reuters poll.
Sales slipped to SFr979 million from just under $1.04 billion over the same period last year and missed average forecasts for SFr1.1 billion.
Lindt recorded organic growth in local currencies of 0.2 per cent.
"Provided that the global economy continues to stabilise, albeit very slowly, in the second half of 2009 and that the swine flu pandemic does not reach drastic levels, Lindt & Sprüngli is maintaining its sales and profit guidance announced in March 2009," the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
It also said that it usually generates less than 40 per cent of its revenue in the first half of the year. It expects sales to increase by two to five per cent over the year, well below its long-term growth objective of six to eight per cent, due to the recession.
The group is targeting an operating profit of SFr260-280 million for the year.
Lindt, which traces its origins to a Zurich confectionery shop in the 1840s, has tapped the growing appetite for premium and dark chocolates and benefited for several years from increased consumer spending on indulgence foods.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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