Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has reported a better-than-expected rise in first-quarter net profit and gave an optimistic outlook for the full year.

Barry Callebaut, which makes chocolate products for food manufacturers, posted net profit of CHF56.7m (US$45.7m) for the first quarter to 30 November, while sales rose 16% to CHF1.2bn, reported Reuters.

The sales result included CHF127.5m from newly acquired US confectionery firm Brach's and Belgian-Dutch chocolate group Luijckx.

Barry Callebaut posted a 15% rise in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to CHF91.5m.

Analysts had been expecting net profit of between CHF39m and CHF51m, while EBIT had been expected at CHF67-84m and sales had been forecast at CHF1.12-1.24bn.

Chief financial officer Dieter Enkelmann told Reuters the company was optimistic full-year earnings would increase 15% if economies continued to improve.