Lindt posts 25.3% profit jump on appetite for chocolate

15th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Swiss chocolate-maker Lindt and Spruengli said Tuesday its 2010 net profit soared 25.3 percent to 241.9 million francs (187.7 million euros, $261.2 million) as consumers regained their taste for fine chocolates.

Sales were however up just 2.2 percent at 2.6 billion francs, hurt by a strong franc against major currencies.

"During the period of global recession, consumers had tended to move over to more low-priced private labels, however, as the upturn set in, the demand for high-quality products returned," said the group.

Lindt said that all of its subsidiaries, except for Australia, posted faster growth than the market, with gains led by the United States, Canada and Britain.

While consumer demand is expected to improve this year, the group warned that instability would continue in the commodities market, particularly for cocoa due to political unrest in the world's biggest cocoa producing country, Ivory Coast.

"The trend of prices for other raw materials, such as milk, sugar and nuts, also remains hard to predict," it added.

The government of internationally recognised Ivory Coast president Alassane Ouattara on Monday extended a ban on cocoa exports as he attempts to economically choke his rival Laurent Gbagbo.

Ouattara's appeal has mostly been respected by major traders and chocolatiers, paralysing exports in the country which produces nearly a third of the world's cocoa beans and causing prices to skyrocket.

© 2011 AFP

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