The CEO of Petra Foods has insisted the Singapore-based confectioner is in “an ideal position” to capitalise on opportunities in Asia in the wake of the sale of its cocoa ingredients arm to Barry Callebaut.

John Chuang said consumer trends in the region favoured Petra Foods, which is now focused on brands after closing the sale of its ingredients business at the end of June.

Petra sealed the US$950m disposal in June and, speaking as the company reported its financial results for the first half of the year, Chuang was upbeat about the future.

“The region’s vibrant economies and fast-growing middle income classes are trends that work in our favour and we will continue to capitalise on them as we continue our strategic focus to drive growth and profitability in our key consumer markets,” Chuang said.

Petra booked a US$10.1m loss for the first half of 2013 as the cocoa ingredients fell into the red for the period. The company said the cocoa ingredients “faced headwinds in the first half of the year”, while the business also booked inventory write-off and write-down charges for the division.

However, profit from Petra’s continuing operations was up 13.3% at US$28.9m. Revenue grew 5.6% to US$253m. Revenues in Petra’s largest market, Indonesia, were up 2.7% to $185.7m. Its second divison, regional markets that include Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore, were up 14.4% at US$67.4m.

Click here for an analysis of the sale of Petra Foods’ cocoa ingredients business, published when the deal was announced in December.

Click here for Barry Callebaut’s comments on the prospects for the business at the Consumer Analyst Group of Europe conference in March.