Swiss chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has reported a 3.2% year-on-year sales growth to $1.89 billion francs ($1.89 billion dollars) for the latest financial quarter.
CEO Antoine de Saint-Affrique said there had been a ‘steady start to the year’ and forecast growth across its business, despite challenging market conditions.
Globally, its performance was above a declining chocolate market – which is 2.3% down in terms of volume for the period (figures up until November 30th 2016).
Barry Callebaut’s gourmet and speciality products were reported to have performed strongly, with figures up 14.4%.
However, sales volumes were flat for the first quarter, standing at 492,931 tonnes, influenced by an above market growth in chocolate (up 2.3%) and a phasing out of less profitable cocoa contracts (down 8.6%).
As a measure of market challenges, European confectionery market volumes declined year-on-year by 3.1%, though Barry Callebaut recorded 2.2% volume growth in the region, to 225,087 tonnes. This resulted in sales revenues for the region being up 3.3% to 772.7 million Francs.
In the Americas, despite confectionery market volumes declining by 2%, the company experienced volume growth of 1.4%, to 113,112 tonnes. This was bolstered an improving Asian market (with overall market growth of 3.7%), which saw 8.8% volume growth for the company to a total of 22,544 tonnes.
The company has pursued a strategy of ‘smart growth’ of between 4-6% for 2017/18 following a number of expansion plans across the world. Its key decisions over the past six months have included a move to acquire and integrate the chocolate production facility of Mondelēz International in Halle, Belgium, in its network.
Mondelēz International will also enter into a long-term agreement for the supply of an additional 30,000 tonnes of liquid chocolate per year.
Barry Callebaut has also confirmed chocolate capacity expansions in California and in Singapore, as well as a first factory in Indonesia.
Another breakthrough was recently announced in its forming a partnership with a Netherlands business to create innovative 3D chocolate printing capabilities.
Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of the Barry Callebaut Group, said: “We had a steady start to the year with the Cocoa Leadership project on track, all chocolate regions delivering solid growth above the market and Gourmet and Specialties performing very strongly. Our ‘smart growth’ strategy is proving to be the right recipe for a continued challenging market environment.”
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