Swiss chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has posted a 17.4% rise in full-year net profit, raising its payout to shareholders and extending its three-year financial targets by another year.

The world's leading chocolate manufacturer said today (2 November) that net profits rose to CHF183m (US$147.1m), beating analysts' expectations. 

Sales rose by 4.9% to CHF4,261.9m, helped by positive currency effects and the strong volumes in the core Food Manufacturers and Gourmet & Specialties businesses, which increased by 4.2%.

Operating profit (EBIT) rose by 13.5% to CHF293.1m for the fiscal year. EBIT per tonne, the key indicator for operational performance, was CHF279.2, up 13.7%. Net profit went up by 17.4% to CHF183m.

Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said: "We are pleased that we have again achieved very good results in fiscal year 2005/06, although we had a challenging fourth quarter due to a very hot summer in Europe, which impacted our volume growth. Most importantly, Consumer Products Europe has achieved a positive result; margins were improved and costs reduced. The business is now operating on a solid foundation."