Italian confectionery company Ferrero has posted an 18.1% rise in full-year net profit to €105.9m (US$124.9m) for 2002.

The company, which makes Kinder Surprise Eggs, Nutella and Rocher chocolates, posted operating profit up 17.5% to €218.9m. Turnover was up 5.5% to €1.7bn.

The company, which employs over 16,000 people worldwide, invested €59.3m during 2002, mainly in the construction of new plants and the purchase of production equipment, reported the Italian News Digest.