Swiss luxury chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli is forecast to post a rise in 2002 net profit on 1 April, despite higher cocoa prices and a general economic slowdown.

Analysts Mario Montagnani and James Amoroso at Banque Pictet expect the chocolate maker’s management to explain in detail the impact of rising coca prices on the company’s margins in 2003 and 2004, reported Reuters.

“Outstanding organic sales growth results confirm Lindt & Spruengli’s ability to pass on price increases seen in the cocoa commodity market,” the two analysts were quoted as saying by Reuters. “We believe this strategy has helped protect margins during 2002.”

Lindt & Spruengli’s 2002 sales rose 3.7% to around 1.7bn Swiss francs (US$1.2bn).