Swiss-based cocoa and chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut has weathered wild volatility on world cocoa markets, reporting a 66.5 per cent rise in its full-year net profits.
It reported a profit of CHF205.5 million (equivalent to approximately €137 million at today’s rates) for the full year ending August 31, with sales volumes up 10 per cent to 1.16 million tonnes.
The company said that it expects the upward trend to continue as more regional chocolate manufacturers look to outsource their contracts in an effort to avoid exposure to higher raw material costs.
CEO Patrick de Maeseneire said that a gloomy economic climate does not necessarily mean that people stop eating chocolate. He said: “Chocolate is a defensive industry and consumption has proven resilient in previous economic downturns. Indeed, we continued to see good growth in the first two months of the current fiscal year.”
Referring to its European results in particular, the company said: “Sales volumes grew more than three times as fast as the regional chocolate market despite a challenging economic environment. Sales revenue increased by 15.8 per cent…driven by higher sales volumes and higher sales prices related to higher raw material prices.”
High prices for cocoa beans, which surpassed $3000 a tonne in June, led the company to raise its prices, but cocoa has since fallen to around $2250 a tonne, only marginally higher than it was at the same point last year.
Barry Callebaut has also expanded into Russia – where it opened a chocolate factory in September last year – as well as Mexico, China and India, in order to take advantage of these emerging markets.
The company is the biggest global manufacturer and distributor of cocoa, followed by US firms Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland.