Barry Callebaut AG reported a good start to its financial year today when it announced a 2% rise in sales volumes and a 3.8% rise in revenues, as it benefited from an improving product mix and positive currency effects.

The world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products said sales revenues reached CHF1.2bn. Sales revenue in the Cocoa business unit was affected by the substantially lower powder ratios as expected, the company said.

Operating profit (EBIT) rose 14.7% to reach at CHF 100.1m. As a result of the refinancing transaction of August 2005, financial cost was reduced by 2.4%. Net profit (PAT) went up by 15.8% to CHF 63.9m.
Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Barry Callebaut, said: “In our seasonally influenced business, the first quarter leading up to Christmas is usually the strongest for us. This year we had a particularly good start into the new fiscal year thanks to the solid growth in our businesses with industrial and artisanal customers and a positive contribution to the Operating profit (EBIT) from our European consumer business. This confirms the upward trend in our Consumer Products Europe business unit. Reasons for this recovery are a better product mix and better sales prices, despite the deliberate reduction in volumes last year and the effect of the historically high hazelnut prices, which will both still have an effect on second-quarter results.”

He added: “We have had a good Christmas business, our order books for the upcoming Easter season in Food Manufacturers and Gourmet & Specialties look good, and the positive signals from our European consumer business that we had observed in the final quarter of the past fiscal year were confirmed this first quarter. Therefore, even though it is still early in the fiscal year, we confirm the communicated financial targets for the three-year period 2004/05 through 2006/07, which are on average: organic top-line growth of 3 to 5%, EBIT growth of approximately 10%, and PAT growth of 12-15%. This, of course, barring any major unforeseen event.”

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