Higher cocoa prices and costs linked to new factories in Russia and China have weighed on half-year profits at Barry Callebaut, the business-to-business chocolate maker.

The Switzerland-based group today (3 April) posted operating profit of CHF200.4m (US$196.6m) for the six months to 29 February, an increase of 1.3% on the year.

Barry Callebaut said cocoa prices jumped 50% between last September and the end of February and it had only been able to increase prices on branded consumer goods from the New Year.

The company said the start-up of factories in Russia and China had also had an impact on profits.

Nevertheless, first-half revenue climbed 21.1% to CHF2.6bn. Volumes were up 10.3%, growing three times faster than the global chocolate market, Barry Callebaut said.

CEO Patrick De Maeseneire said the last six months had seen the business make "significant investments in our future".

He added: "We are now optimally positioned to accelerate our profitable growth going forward and we will be able to fully benefit from scale effects."