Acquired cocoa business boosts Barry Callebaut results

by Jeff Gelski
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ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — A cocoa business acquired from Singapore-based Petra Foods Ltd. last year continues to lift Barry Callebaut’s financial results in 2014. The Zurich-based company for the nine months ended May 31 had sales volume of 1,288,365 tonnes, up nearly 16% from 1,112,309 tonnes in the same time period of the previous year, and sales revenue of 4,318.7 million Swiss francs ($4,834.3 million), up 22% from 3,540.7 million Swiss francs ($3,963.4 million).

On a stand-alone basis, or excluding the acquisition of the cocoa business, sales volume increased 2.4% to 1,138,736 tonnes from 1,112,309 tonnes and sales revenue increased 6.8% to 3,782.7 million Swiss francs from 3,540.7 million Swiss francs.

“I am satisfied with our third-quarter volume growth, which was driven by the acquired cocoa business, emerging markets and our Gourmet business,” said Juergen Steinemann, chief executive officer, when Barry Callebaut presented results July 3. “As we continued to focus on increasing our product margins, we concentrated on selective growth in developed markets. While the cocoa powder market remains challenging, we are very satisfied with the integration of the acquired cocoa business.”

In Barry Callebaut’s Region Americas, sales volume for the nine-month period increased 6.2% to 327,695 tonnes. Sales revenue rose 7.4% to 927.3 million Swiss francs ($1,038.2 million).

Barry Callebaut pointed to a positive scientific opinion received from the European Food Safety Authority on May 6. The European Union already allows the health claim “cocoa flavanols help maintain the elasticity of blood vessels, which contributes to normal blood flow” on cocoa beverages with cocoa powder and dark chocolate products providing a daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols. Because of the May 6 E.F.S.A. opinion, Barry Callebaut now is awaiting approval from the European Union to allow the health claim to be used in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, medical nutrition and health supplement industry sectors.

Barry Callebaut also said a new chocolate factory in Santiago de Chile should go on-stream this month, which will help the company further tap into the South American market. The facility has a manufacturing capacity in excess of 20,000 tonnes.
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