Swiss chocolate group Lindt & Sprüngli has booked an expectation-beating increase in first-half organic sales, with market share gains in “all key markets”.

Lindt revealed yesterday (14 July) organic sales in the first six months of the year increased 9.2%. Consensus analyst expectations had forecast organic sales to rise 8.3%.

The company said total sales were up 6% at CHF1.2bn (US$1.35bn). The strength of the Swiss franc weighed 3.2% on the group result. Lindt said consumer sentiment in some countries – particularly southern Europe – “has not yet recovered completely”.

The company said it implemented “moderate” price increases in the face of higher input costs but gains were nevertheless attributable to volume growth.

Lindt is maintaining its long-term strategic targets for the year and expects to report organic sales growth of 6-8% and an increase in EBIT margin of 20-40 basis points.

In a separate announcement, Lindt revealed it had struck a deal to acquire US confectioner Russell Stover Candies. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed but media reports suggested a deal multiple as high as 23.3x EBITDA, before synergies.