Demand revival sweetens Lindt chocolate's net profit
Swiss chocolate group Lindt and Spruengli said Tuesday that net profit grew nine fold in the first half of the year as it experienced the first signs of an upswing in demand worldwide.
Net profit exceeded analysts expectations, reaching 24.8 million Swiss francs (18.8 million euros, 23.9 million dollars), an increase of 818 percent over the same period last year when chocolate markets melted down with the economic crisis.
"Consumer sentiment improved slightly as the global economy slowly stabilized and showed the first visible signs of an upswing," the premium chocolate maker said in a statement.
Despite moderate and patchy pick up in the overall chocolate market, rising cocoa prices and the strength of the Swiss currency Lindt said it had recorded double digit growth in North America, and "important progress" in Europe and Asia, as well as in the duty free travel business.
The company's six month sales grew by 7.9 percent to 1.06 billion Swiss francs.
Lindt and Spruengli confirmed its sales and profit forecasts for the full year with expected organic growth in sales of five to seven percent and earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of 300 million to 340 million francs.
However, it cautioned that the overall economic situation had not yet stabilised, while raw material and currency markets remained volatile.
"The company's priority will remain the strengthening of the brand and gaining market shares," Lindt added.
Lindt's annual net profit last year had plunged by more than a third to 193.1 million francs.
The chocolate-maker has said it would push ahead with expansion in Asia this year.
© 2010 AFP