Swiss luxury chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli has posted 2002 net profit of 102m Swiss francs (US$75.2m), an increase of 11% compared to the previous year.

The company posted 2002 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 170.8m francs, a year-on-year increase of 7.8%. Analysts polled by Reuters had on average forecast net profit of 102.4m francs and EBIT of 170.7m francs.

"These results are all the more encouraging because they were achieved under extremely tough conditions, characterised by negative consumer sentiment, ongoing trade concentration and unrestrained competitive pricing," the company was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The chocolate industry has been hit by rising cocoa prices due to political unrest in the Ivory Coast, which produces around 40% of the world’s cocoa.

Lindt & Spruengli said sales rose 5.6% to 1.68bn francs, while in local currencies sales rose 7.6%.