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Lindt & Sprüngli, the Swiss chocolate maker, is to invest over CHF750m (US$760.1m) in the business over the next three years to shield itself against the weak dollar.

The company, which today (18 March) announced an 18% jump in annual profits, said some of the cash would go towards boosting production in North America.

“The planned investments in production aim at a greater independence regarding dollar rate developments in North America,” Lindt said.

The group posted operating profit of CHF350.8m for 2007, up 18% on the year. The rise in profits came as sales climbed 13.9% to CHF2.9bn.

Lindt said it had “outpaced” a growing chocolate market, with an “especially pleasing” performance in North America.