Swiss chocolate firm Lindt & Spruengli has said that in 2004 its worldwide sales exceeded the CHF2bn (US$1.69bn) mark for the first time.

The company also posted its highest-ever organic growth of 12.5% in local currencies. In Swiss franc terms, group sales were up by 12% to CHF2.02bn, compared to CHF1.80bn in the previous year, with all group companies except Poland contributing to the higher result.

Lindt & Spruengli hailed the financial year 2004 as "a success in practically every respect", citing positive factors such as market growth, increased marketing investments, higher duty-free sales (due to the positive trend in the tourist industry) and favourable weather.

The company said it expects that the percentage increases in its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) and net income will be higher than the growth in sales.