Lindt & Sprüngli today (23 August) reported a jump in first-half profits as the chocolate maker's "successful" efficiency programmes offset the effect of the Swiss franc.

The company booked a 29.4% increase in net income to CHF32.1m (US$40.8m) for the first six months of 2011. Operating income was up 23.9% at CHF42m.

Lindt's sales were down 4.7% to CHF1.01bn due to the strength of the Swiss franc. However, when foreign exchange is excluded from the numbers, sales increased by 6.1% on an organic basis.

The group said the majority of its subsidiaries had outpaced the global chocolate market, which it said grew by 3% in value terms, with volumes "relatively flat almost everywhere".

Lindt said it made "particularly good progress" in Germany, France, Italy and North America. The company also said it saw "solid growth" in Switzerland but admitted its UK business had "failed to meet expectations" and blamed the "especially difficult economic climate".

The company stuck to its forecast of a 6-8% increase in annual sales on an organic basis and for operating margin to grow by 20 to 40 basis points.