Barry Callebaut, the Swiss-based producer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, has posted rises in both EBIT and net profit for the first six months of the 2005/2006 fiscal year.
Operating profit (EBIT) grew by 10.8% to CHF177m (US$136.12m), while net profit increased by 11.3% to CHF112.7m. The company also reported that EBIT per tonne rose by 12.4% to CHF320 per tonne, from CHF285 per tonne in the corresponding period last year, with all business units contributing positively to the increase in this ratio.
Sales revenues rose by 8.4%, which the company attributed primarily to increased physical bean sales, positive exchange rate effects and moderately higher cocoa bean prices. However, when these factors are stripped out, the company conceded that sales revenues decreased slightly. Sales volumes were 1.4% lower, mainly as a result of the discontinuation of unprofitable contracts in the group’s consumer business.
“During the first six months of fiscal year 2005/06 we have been able to further grow our profitability, and we have made considerable progress in our European consumer business,” said CEO Patrick De Maeseneire. “We are pleased with our half-year results, especially in view of a late-Easter in 2006.”
Sales revenues in the company’s industrial business division increased by 16.4% to CHF1.32bn. However, sales revenues in Barry Callebaut’s foodservice/retail division fell by 0.4% to CHF1.03bn. Operating profit (EBIT) for the industrial business division rose by 11.4% to CHF109.5m, while EBIT from the company’s foodservice/retail arm rose by 11.5% to CHF93.9m.
Looking ahead, De Maeseneire said that the late Easter holiday this year would mean some volumes would be shifted from the second to the third quarter. He also said efficiency improvements in the company’s European consumer business were proceeding as planned, and the company was confident it would make further progress and achieve profitability for this business unit in fiscal year 2005/06. De Maeseneire also confirmed that “barring unforeseen events” the company was on target to meet previously stated financial forecasts for the three-year period from 2004/05 to 2006/07.