Lindt & Sprungli’s 2010 sales results were today (18 January) welcomed by analysts, with one calling the Swiss chocolate maker a “class act” that has room to “grow strongly” in 2011.

The confectioner this morning (18 January) reported an increase in full-year sales for 2010 and said it had gained market share in all of its key markets.

The group generated sales of 7.3% on an organic basis in local currencies, “considerably higher than the average for the chocolate market as a whole”, it said.

Calling Lindt a “class act”, Kepler Capital Markets analyst Jon Cox described the results as “pretty good”. “[Lindt] had this target of 5-7% and they were slightly above 7%,” he told just-food. “They say it was driven by double-digit growth in the US and UK so it’s the ongoing Lindt revolution basically – producing premium chocolate to the Anglo-Saxon masses as it were – and that is the case again and again.

He added: “Another sign of their innovation is that even in the mature markets, they grew strongly in Germany, so I think Lindt really is a class act.”

In Italy and Germany, Lindt said it had enjoyed “substantial growth rates” in 2010.

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Meanwhile, Olivier Müller, research analyst for Credit Suisse, said Lindt had “implemented the right measures to counter these challenges” and that the company’s recovery is “now gradually coming through”.

Lindt’s 2009 sales hit CHF2.5bn, just below forecasts, in January 2010.

“After the recession has ended and consumer confidence in Lindt’s major markets has improved, we think it is right to remain constructive, particularly given the strong organic sales growth,” Muller added.

Looking ahead, Cox believes Lindt may have room for further growth in 2011 as its major competitors take their eye off the premium market.

“The question is what happens next,” he told just-food. “From my perspective, I think Nestle is concentrating on emerging markets, Kraft Foods is tied up with Cadbury and Hershey seems to have abandoned the premium space mass offering during the downturn, so I think Lindt has a wide-open playing field really. The competition has other things to do in the next year or so, so I think Lindt could grow strongly again in 2011.”

Muller said he forecasts Lindt attaining an organic growth rate of between 5.3% and 6.6% for the full-year, driven by volume growth of around 3.3% to 4.3% and a net price impact of 2% to 2.3%.