Shares in Barry Callebaut rose in morning trade today (1 April) after the Swiss chocolate group booked rising first-half volumes and profits, driven by growing sales of cocoa products and expansion in emerging markets.

In the six months to the end of February, Barry Callebaut said that it was able to grow chocolate volumes by 7.1%. This compares favourably to overall market growth of 3.6%, the company emphasised. However, currency exchange dented sales revenue, which increased 3.1%. On a constant-currency basis, sales would have grown 13.2%.

“Once again, we managed to significantly outperform the global chocolate market by growing twice as fast. We are pleased that our growth was particularly strong in emerging markets,” CEO Juergen Steinemann said.

During the period, Barry Callebaut said that it achieved “significant operational improvements”, which drove EBIT up 4%to CHF217.1m (US$235.5m). Net profit rose 17.1%, climbing to CHF158.8m due to lower financial expenses and favourable tax rates.

Barry Callebaut said that it remains “confident” that its good performance in the first half will continue for the remainder of the year. EBIT is expected to increase by 6-8% per year until 2013, excluding currency exchange, the company reiterated.

Shares in Barry Callebaut rose 3.46% to CHF7.77 at 9.30am (GMT). The company’s stock has gained around 10% on the Zurich exchange over the past year.

For the full release click here, or check back later for just-food’s post-conference call insight into Barry Callebaut’s first half.