Barry Callebaut has posted modest growth in its nine-month sales figures driven by volume gains in North and South America.
The company recorded €3bn (CHF 3.6m) in sales for the nine months up to May 31 this year, up 2.3% on the same period last year.
Its volumes also grew 6.6% to 1.1m tonnes. The company said its volume growth was higher than the global chocolate market average, which remained flat from September last year to April this year, according to data from Nielsen.
The firm oversaw its most comprehensive volume and sales growth in the Americas.
Volumes were up in the region by 15% to 263,500 tonnes, in spite of 4% chocolate volume declines in the general US market.
Callebaut's sales in the Americas climbed 9.4% as a result of the volume gains to €675m (CHF 811m).
The company recently added 60,000 tonnes additional capacity to its operations in the Americas after it acquired a €22.5m plant in Canada from Batory Industries in June this year.(See HERE )
Callebaut has key supply agreements in place with large firms in this region, including a long-term supply agreement with Latin American bakery firm Grupo Bimbo that was announced in January this year.
Its other core outsourcing partners include major confectioners such as Nestlé, Cadbury/Kraft and Hershey.
Challenge in Europe
Europe, which accounts for 51% of the company’s volumes, yielded the lowest growth for Barry Callebaut.
Although it outperformed the overall market with 3.7% volume growth to 532,000 tonnes, sales declined 3.4% to €1.5bn (CHF 1.7bn).
The company was able to stay ahead of the overall market through strong demand for chocolate speciality products and double-digit sales growth in Eastern Europe.
Barry Callebaut also performed strongly in Asia-Pacific with 12.3% volume growth to 43,620 tonnes.
It plans to up its capacity in the region with a new plant in Japan as part of a deal with Japanese confectioner Morinaga. (See HERE ).
Barry Callebaut noted that the Cocoa price had come down 20% on last year and said the industry was still well covered. However, it said there had been no price drops versus the last quarter and the industry had experienced “intense intraday volatility”. It expects clarity on future price developments after the end of the Rainy season in West Africa.
The company said that global sugar prices had come down, but no significant price declines were expected in the EU due to a "structural deficit and market measures”.
Confectioners in the Europe are calling for the EU to abolish sugar quotas and reduce high import tariffs, which has harmed many small and medium sized businesses. (See HERE )