Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut increased sales volume by 6.6% in the first nine months of its fiscal year – ‘significantly outperforming’ the market.
In the last three months the company’s sales volume grew 6.5%, maintaining the growth rate reported in the first half year.
Year-to-date, said the company, all regions showed positive growth rates, led by the food manufacturers products business in Americas and emerging markets.
The gourmet & specialties products business performed well in all regions except in the difficult Western European markets, where it also was affected by lower volumes in the beverages division.
“We are very satisfied with the overall strong growth in all of our regions and across all of our product groups given the challenging market environment in Western Europe,” said Juergen Steinemann, CEO of Barry Callebaut.
“Our project ‘Spring’ for reviewing all our customer-related structures and processes in Western Europe, our additional sustainability initiative ‘Cocoa Horizons’ as well as the implementation of the recent long-term partnership agreements are all well on track.”
In Europe, the company’s growth was driven by its food manufacturers products business and Eastern Europe. The gourmet & specialties products business reported good growth; overall regional growth was, however, affected by the economic situation in Southern Europe.
Strength in the Americas
The Americas was the strongest region in terms of volume growth, said the company: sales volume increased by 15.0%, compared to a 4.0% contraction in the U.S. chocolate market. The gourmet business sustained its double-digit growth rate, supported by additional distribution points as well as first signs of a gourmet market recovery.
Both Mexico and South America remained on track with strong volume growth versus last year. Sales revenue in the region increased 13.8% in local currencies (+9.4% in CHF) to CHF 810.2 million.
Asian chocolate markets grew by 6.3%. Barry Callebaut strongly accelerated its sales volume growth in the region by 12.3%. The food manufacturers products business reported double-digit growth, and the gourmet business developed well in the region.
In recent months, the company noted that the price of cocoa moved with little activity, and said that it expected more clarity on the crop and future price developments after the current rainy season has come to an end.
The world sugar market showed a strong downward correction, reaching a 20-month low. In contrast, EU sugar prices increased due to a structural deficit and market measures by the EU.
Dairy market prices stabilised after a phase of continuous decline triggered by very good milk supply worldwide. Recently prices started to slightly move higher again.