Shares in Barry Callebaut, the Switzerland-based chocolate giant, jumped this morning (12 January) after the company posted rising first-quarter sales, helped by the emerging markets.

Barry Callebaut recorded a 4.9% rise in sales to CHF1.52bn (US$1.56bn), although that growth was dampened by the strength of the Swiss franc versus the euro and the US dollar. When measured in local currencies, sales rose 14.2%.

The company, which supplies the likes of Kraft Foods, Nestle and Hershey, said its sales volumes for the three months to 30 November rose 5.6% to over 383,200 tonnes.

A recovery in Eastern Europe and the continued improvement in economic conditions in Asia-Pacific helped Barry Callebaut’s performance in the quarter, the company said. CEO Jurgen Steinemann, however, said the economic environment in western Europe and North America was “mixed but still better overall”.

“Whereas emerging markets again showed gratifying GDP growth rates, the economic environment in Western Europe and North America was mixed but still better overall,” Steinemann said. “Under these market circumstances and despite significant negative currency effects, we were able to achieve good volume and sales revenue growth.”

He added: “We are particularly pleased with the growth of our Gourmet business, our performance in emerging markets such as Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific as well as the positive momentum of our cocoa products sales to global customers.”

Barry Callebaut is due to publish its half-year results on 1 April. Its shares had risen 6.6% at 12:57 CET to reach CHF786.50.

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