ZURICH, SWITZERLAND — The performance of Gourmet brands Callebaut and Cacao Barry helped Zurich-based Barry Callebaut record sales and volume growth in the first half of the fiscal year, a time period in which the overall global confectionery market fell 1.5% in sales volume.
In the first half ended Feb. 28, Barry Callebaut’s sales volume rose 2% to 893,437 tonnes from 876,297 tonnes in the previous year’s first half. Sales revenue for Barry Callebaut, driven by higher cocoa bean prices compared to last year and increased sales of higher value products, rose 11.6% to 3,244.2 million Swiss francs ($3,359.1 million) from 2,906.9 million Swiss francs. Operating profit (EBIT) rose 8.7% to 219.2 million Swiss francs ($227 million) from 201.7 million Swiss francs, and net profit rose 10.7% to 132.4 million Swiss francs from 119.6 million Swiss francs.
“As forecasted, we had a good second quarter after a slow start to the year,” said Juergen Steinemann, chief executive officer of the Barry Callebaut Group, when results were given April 1. “Our volume growth accelerated, much in contrast to the currently weak global chocolate confectionery market.
“All growth drivers contributed to our growth, especially outsourcing and partnerships and Gourmet. Our business in our main regions Western Europe and Americas performed particularly well. Despite a weak cocoa products market and a negative currency translation effect, we significantly improved our profitability thanks to our continued focus on product mix, margins and cost management.”
Overall sales volume in the Gourmet & Specialties Products business rose 6% in the first half to 95,024 tonnes.
In Region Americas in the first half, operating profit (EBIT) rose 12.4% to 67.3 million Swiss francs. Sales volume grew 1.9%, including 3.8% in the second quarter, to 221,568 tonnes. First-half sales revenue in Region Americas rose 20% to 730.6 million Swiss francs as a result of higher cocoa bean prices, a more favorable product mix and currency translation effects.
In Region Europe in the first half, operating profit rose 15.8% to 157.2 million Swiss francs, sales volume grew 2.1% to 386,730 tonnes, and sales revenue increased 4.9% to 1,370.9 million Swiss francs. In Region Asia Pacific in the first half, operating profit rose 4% to 15.7 million Swiss francs, sales volume grew 5.8% to 36,326 tonnes, and sales revenue increased 11.6% to 146.5 million Swiss francs.
In Global Cocoa, operating profit fell 39.6% to 20.6 million Swiss francs as a low combined cocoa ratio had a negative impact. First-half sales volume for Global Cocoa increased 1.2%, including 4.4% in the second quarter, to 248,813 tonnes. Sales revenue rose 15.9% to 996.2 million Swiss francs.
Barry Callebaut said short term it expects cocoa prices to move lower because of a good mid-crop prospect in the Ivory Coast, lower worldwide grinds and slow chocolate confectionery markets.“We expect sales volume growth to further accelerate in the second half of our fiscal year, supported by all growth drivers,” Mr. Steinemann said. “Our focus on product margins and cost control will drive further profitable growth, which will help to offset the challenging cocoa market.”