Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli continued to grow its business ahead of the global chocolate market in 2015, supported by both organic growth and the contribution from acquisitions.
However, Lindt’s sales did miss analyst expectations.
Group sales at the firm rose 7.9% to CHF3.65bn (US$3.63bn). Stripping out the negative impact of currency exchange, the company’s sales were up 13.5% in the period.
During the year, Lindt said it “strengthened” its market position in “all strategically important markets”. The group saw organic sales growth of 7.1% in the period. Lindt has targeted strategic long-term sales growth in the region of 6-8%.
Lindt said the integration of Russell Stover Candies, the US confectioner it bought last year, is “well on track”.
The company stressed market-beating growth was achieved despite a number of headwinds, including the strength of the Swiss franc, “extensive” restructuring at major customers, and the negative impact of deflation and unemployment on consumer sentiment. “Despite this extremely challenging market environment, Lindt & Sprüngli once again managed to achieve significantly higher sales growth than the chocolate market as a whole and was able to expand its market shares in all strategically important markets,” the company said today (14 January).
The company said its full year operating margin is expected to be “at least at last year’s level”, despite the drag of writing down goodwill and one-off costs associated with the Russell Stover acquisition.
Lindt is scheduled to publish its full numbers for fiscal 2015 on 8 March.